Gearing Up for Grandma’s

Our 2021 “Gearing Up for Grandma’s” event was held virtually, but we expect that this pre-race training seminar will be back to its normal in-person format in 2022.

“Gearing Up for Grandma’s,” sponsored by Essentia Health, is usually held in the month of March to provide help and resources to participants of all abilities, both beginners and veterans, as you prepare for your big race in June!

Our 2021 content was distributed primarily through our social media channels (give us a follow or a like below!).

We produced several video features on each training topic, including a full-length yoga class.

Stretching for Runners

Joey DeVlieger, a physical therapist and certified running analyst at Essentia Health, explains and demonstrates the differences between using “dynamic” and “static” stretching in your training.

In the above video, DeVlieger has the assistance of Alissa Boyhtari, chairperson of our Young Athletes Foundation (YAF) committee. Together, they share examples of several common stretches from both categories.

Dynamic stretching, says DeVlieger, is most appropriate for before your race or long training runs, and static stretching is best used afterward. Properly stretching your muscles both before and after your runs, he says, can help prevent some of the most common injuries.

Running Your Best Race

Dr. Ben Nelson, our Grandma’s Marathon medical director and a physician at Essentia Health, discusses a variety of topics that are important for runners to consider as they start or continue their training process.

In the above video, Dr. Nelson discusses common areas of concern including proper hydration, running in the heat, and following a pre-designed training program. This advice is general in nature and may not apply to every runner individually, so he does encourage anyone interested in starting to train for a long-distance race to first consult with a physician.

Nutrition for Distance Runners

Dr. Sarah Astorga, a physician with Essentia Health’s integrative medicine team, discusses proper nutrition during marathon training and offers tips on how to properly fuel your body before, during, and after your race.

In the above video, Dr. Astorga discusses common areas of concern linked to nutrition in the time leading up and then during and after a long-distance race. She does note that this advice may not apply to everyone, especially those with allergies or food sensitivities, so she does recommend speaking with a physician or nutritionist if you’re unsure about what next steps to take.

Yoga for Runners

Joyce Dunphy, a 500 hour RYT at the Essentia Health Center for Personal Fitness, puts on a virtual yoga class designed to help runners feel more open, flexible, and strong so you can have more fun during your run.

In the above video, Dunphy leads a 60-minute, virtual yoga session that is specifically geared toward helping runners feel more relaxed during the high-intensity training weeks leading up to race day.

Your Questions Answered

For first-time runners or marathon veterans, questions always seem to come up during training. Dr. Ben Nelson, our Grandma’s Marathon medical director and a physician at Essentia Health, took time recently to answer some of the most commonly asked questions leading up to the 2021 race.

If you have any other training questions that you’d like answered in the buildup to June 2021, please send us an email at and, if there’s enough interest, we may do a second round of FAQs with Dr. Nelson.