Mark is a lifelong runner who got his start in high school and continued to run competitively in college. He ran his first marathon in 1968 and has run 56 total marathons. Mark found runcoach in 2015 through the Detroit Marathon.  Mark’s most recent finish was 3:30:19 at the Detroit Marathon where he placed first in the 60-64 year age group! He recaps his experience at Detroit and his approach to training below.

Mark’s Background:

  • I ran high school and college
  • I ran my first race in September 1968 (I've been running a long time)
  • 23 of my first 24 marathons under 2:50 (24 of 25 if you count a 50K that I went through the marathon at 2:48
  • Family issues resulted in sitting out of marathons for almost a decade
  • As I get older, the days that feel great are getting fewer and fewer
  • Fighting through those tough days is one of my biggest challenges
  • Doing the Tuesday and Thursday workouts have really helped me get my focus and quantity of good days up

Race Day:

With temperatures near 36° the morning of the race, I was concerned that the marathon would be brutal. Luckily there was virtually no wind which is really good for the marathon. The light snow flurries added something to talk about.  The gun went off and after about a mile and a half I settled into a hard comfortable pace. On the return to the US (editor’s note – The Detroit Marathon cross into Canada for a portion of the race), I didn’t expect such a warm tunnel. Another thing to worry about, I was afraid that I would be cold getting back outside. It wasn't bad. My workouts gave me the confidence and strength that I could hold the pace, but you're never sure. To my surprise, I continued at the same pace beyond 22 miles.  This was my 56th marathon, my 32nd since turning 50 and I still fear those last several miles. Although my legs were still doing pretty well, I started losing focus. I walked through a water stop and when I saw others walking up a hill, it looked like a good idea. I walked about 20-30 seconds up the hill. I never did get back on my pace, but was pleased with my run. Maybe next time I’ll fight the urge to walk.

Editor’s Notes:  We think Mark’s perseverance and resolve are awesome.  The fact that he walked through a water stop late in the race is a successful trait that we’ve observed even at the highest levels.  Mark’s commitment to the sport and his health is a great example and we wanted to share it with all of you.

Originally posted September 6, 2014. Written by Dena Evans.

Technology has improved our lives in myriad ways.  GPS devices have allowed us to track our endurance efforts, recording our pace, distance, heart rate, and many more metrics besides.  While providing a wealth of information, our relationship with the technology can become complicated and far more entangled than we could have possibly imagined.   These devices are best as a tool to help us train effectively and analyze where we have gone.  While possible that your GPS device can provide some accountability, take this quiz and see where you are on the spectrum of maintaining a healthy balance and perspective with your wrist-born tech.


Do you always round off your runs or walks to an exactly even number (5.00 miles, 3.50 miles exactly, 40 miles precisely for the week, etc), even if you are doing a lap around the parking lot or go up and down your driveway three times?

If your answer is yes, you probably enjoy order over chaos, and completion of your goals.  You might also like to look at tidy numbers on the screen. None of that is bad in and of itself, but it is always good to remember that training has a purpose and shuffling in circles for 27 meters to make a full mile doesn’t really make you any more prepared for the race.  Consider spending a week where you purposely don’t end on an even number in any run.  Encourage yourself that your achievement of the total includes the experience of the effort along the way and that your training need not be 100% perfect 100% of the time to be in a position to achieve your goals on race day!

Do you have a floor or ceiling pace under or over which you never go on training run / walk days?

If your answer is yes, you probably are trying to faithfully complete your training efforts at the paces prescribed by your runcoach pace chart.  However, always make sure that you listen to your body.  If you have a sore / tight muscle, feel tired from the prior day’s workout, are sick, or have another legitimate reason to be in true recovery mode, it is fine to slow dow.  Occasionally what felt like your easy pace turns out to be 30 seconds per mile or more.  Recovery is key to being prepared for the next hard day.  Sometimes, that requires doing a little less and easing off a bit (and being ok with that when you look at your watch).

Now that you have a GPS device on your wrist or in the palm of your hand, do you find yourself checking your pace almost reflexively every 50 meters along your route?

If this sounds like you, you might be just excited to have a cool toy to consult. But, with constant reliance on the watch or app (which is not always 100% accurate due to trees, weather, and other factors), you might also be at risk for missing a chance to understand and gain a feel for what your race pace or other paces might be.  While you might want to keep careful track of your mileage, occasionally pick a route you of which you already know the distance, and run it without your watch, gauging your effort based on what you perceive to be the pace.  You can log the miles accurately as you have measured it previously and using your total time, can figure the pace. However, you have taken an opportunity during the run to stay in touch with your instincts and listen to your body.

Do you avoid certain routes because of spotty satellite reception (and the shorter distances/ slower paces you might be given credit for on your device as a result)?

If your answer is yes to this one, you are human! We all like to see our best selves recorded and the greatest return on our efforts.  However, if the preoccupation with the numbers is causing you to miss out on tree covered paths, excellent trail running, and safe routes on bike paths that travel through tunnels, consider mapping these on the computer and manually entering in the distances, or just noting your estimated differences when uploading your info.

Data is helpful, but we should not become overly reliant on it.  As humans, we can use machines and technology to help us to our goals, but nothing replaces the individual effort and commitment we all need to achieve our goals on the day.  Continue to trust in your ability and instincts. Let your GPS devices and apps be tools, but only one of many, in your arsenal.



lambstuffedpeppersTime for an easy gourmet meal that is quick to prep and clean-up, but packs some great flavors and nutrition.  Enjoy this dish for lunch or dinner as it’s sure to impress your family or guests.  We take African spices of cumin and cinnamon and pair with some tasty ground lamb or buffalo, adding in short grain brown rice for a balanced and satisfying meal.

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4


-        1 ¾ cups cooked short grain brown rice

-        4 medium to large bell peppers

-        1 pound ground lamb or buffalo

-        4 cloves minced garlic

-        ½ cup currants (look near raisins)

-        2 teaspoons ground cumin

-        1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

-        2 ½ cups vegetable juice (eg V8)

-        ¼ cup chopped mint

-        Zest of an orange

-        ¾ teaspoon salt

-        ½ teaspoon pepper


-        Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-        Wash and cook brown rice as desired (boiling on stove top or in rice cooker)

-        Cut tops off peppers and de-seed.  Put peppers into over on cookie sheet or other casserole dish for 15-20 minutes

-        Cook beef in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up beef until no longer pink, 4-6 minutes

-        Stir in currants, cumin and cinnamon, cooking for 1 minute

-        Stir in rice and cook for 30 seconds more

-        Remove from heat and stir in ½ cup vegetable juice, mint, orange zest, salt and pepper

-        Spoon beef mixture into peppers, pour remaining vegetable juice into the pepper and serving dish and microwave for 1 minute.


-        Calories: 451

-        Carbs: 48g

-        Protein: 36g

-        Fat: 12g

risottoWe began with a great breakfast to jump start your day, then a tasty chickpea and egg dish for lunch or dinner. Now we have a flavorful vegetarian dish, perfect for lunch or quick dinner when you are on the go.  This is another crock-pot meal, so you can just throw everything in and have it ready when you get home in the afternoon.  It stores well in the fridge or freezer, making for a healthy, sustaining meal that is packed full of great flavors.

Brown Rice Quinoa Fennel Risotto

This dish, prepared with brown rice and pecorino, creates a gluten and cow dairy free recipe, while vegetarian, packs a lasting satisfaction with the addition of quinoa along with fiber.  Just 30 minutes to prep, then slow cook for 4-6 hours.

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, cored and finely diced, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fronds
  • 1 cup short-grain brown rice
  • ½ cup Quinoa
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms - $1.69
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, or “no-chicken” broth
  • 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • cups frozen French-cut green beans
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 1/3 cup pitted oil-cured black olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


Coat a 4-quart crock-pot with cooking spray.  Crush fennel seeds and combine with diced fennel, brown rice, carrot, shallot, garlic, green beans, olives, lemon zest and mushrooms in the pot.  Add broth, 1 cut water, wine, and stir to combine.  Cover and cook until rice is chewy and risotto is thick and creamy.  On high heat 2 ½ hours, or low heat 4 hours.

Before serving or storing, stir in pecorino.  If it too dry, add water to loosen.

Servings: 6

Nutrition: Calories 353; Fat 8g, Carbs 56g, protein 14g

chickpea hashLast week we helped you make your own mixed fruit steel cut oatmeal, now we want to fuel your lunch or dinner!

Our next meal to help fuel your life, and make eating well easy for you.  This recipe takes a just a short amount of prep work, and cooks in one non-stick skillet.  Quick to cook and quick to clean up!

Bringing together some great tastes with vegetables, shredded potatoes, curry and ginger.  Topped with an egg completes the meal with a healthy dose of protein.  Easy to prepare and inexpensive on the wallet too.


  • 4 cups frozen shredded potatoes - $1.69
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach - $1.99
  • ½ cup chopped onion - $0.99
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger - $1.50
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder - $1.99
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil - $5.99
  • 1 15 OZ can chickpeas, rinsed - $1.50
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini - $2.99
  • 4 large eggs - $3.00

Total cost: $21.64

Servings 4, Calories 382

What you’ll need: cutting board, 10 inch non-stick skillet with lid, cutting knife, can opener, measuring cup, measuring spoons, vegetable peeler, spatula/turner


  1. Start by cutting the spinach, onion, ginger, and mix with the potatoes, curry powder and salt in a large bowl.  Now chop the zucchini and open and rinse the chickpeas.
  2. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet on medium high and pour potato mixture in, pressing into the bottom.  Cook for 5 minutes, do not stir.  You want a crispy layer on the bottom.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low.  Fold the chickpeas and zucchini into the skillet, breaking up the crispy potato.  Press into a layer in the skillet and carve out 4 holes in the potato.  Crack eggs one at a time into the holes gently.  Cover and cook until desired egg type.  Soft yolk approx. 5 minutes, longer for fully cooked.

This is a great meal to satisfy your needs for a busy day.  Easy to make and clean up, so no excuses for ordering takeout.  You can even have extra for lunch on the go the next day.  Reheats in 2 minutes.

steel cut oatmeal

movecoach Director of Operations, Ironman triathlete & caterer, Brett Miller, shares his tasty Mixed Fruit Steel Cut Oatmeal recipe with us as part of our new series – movecoach Fuel!
Mixed Fruit Steel Cut Oatmeal

As busy professionals, athletes, moms, or anyone on the run throughout the day, breakfast is probably the most neglected meal.  The go-to breakfast of a bowl of cereal, or that muffin at Starbucks as you make your way to work may satisfy the taste buds, but it leaves you hungry in an hour as your sugar levels spike and then energy levels drop.  In our effort to help create a sustained energy level, and longer satiation of hunger, movecoach has some recommended meals that are easy, healthy and taste great!  This can be your first step in taking out a big chunk of processed foods from your diet too!

Our first breakfast up is Steel Cut Oatmeal with Mixed Fruit.  This breakfast can be made ahead of time, and kept in the fridge for 4-5 days so it’s ready when you need it with just a quick warm-up in the microwave.  You’ll find your hunger at bay longer through the morning, as well as better managing your blood sugar, improving energy levels.

With just a few purchases, you can be ready to make your own tasty oatmeal.  We love our Trader Joe’s here in the bay area, so the below prices are what they charge for your first batch, but easy substitutions can be found at all grocery stores.  Total cost your first trip is $17.49, but your next 2-3 times cooking will be only $2.99 each.

This can be made dairy-free, as well as gluten free.  You’ll have to find Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats on Amazon or a specialty grocer for the gluten free version though.

Servings: 4-6 8oz servings


  • - 1 cup Steel Cut Oatmeal - $2.49
  • - Flavor options - $2.99
  • - 1 Green Apple, ½ Cup frozen blueberries
  • - Half package frozen Trader Joe’s Tropical Fruit
  • - Half can pumpkin, ½ chopped pecans
  • - ½ cup sliced almonds - $3.99
  • - 1 cup milk (regular or almond milk) - $2.99
  • - 2 cups water
  • - Pinch of salt
  • - ½ cup brown sugar or honey - $3.49
  • - Cinnamon to taste (at least a teaspoon), pumpkin pie spice when making pumpkin oatmeal - $1.99


  1. Chop fruit and nuts as desired
  2. Using a slow cooker, add all ingredients and stir to combine.
  3. Set slow cooker to high heat and let cook for approximately 4-6 hours.
  4. Try to stir every hour, but not required

For stove top

  1. Chop fruit and nuts as desired
  2. Bring water to a boil
  3. Add oats and reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10-20 minutes (depending on how chewy you want the oats), stirring occasionally
  4. Add all ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Remove from heat and let stand for a minute

Now you have a batch of a healthy, tasty, balance breakfast, ready to go when you are!  Make sure you fuel your body well for the long day ahead!

Guest Blog Post from Heather Tanner

Heather Tanner is a 3-time Olympic Trial marathon qualifier, 2004 USA World Half Marathon Team Member and decorated NCAA Cross Country and Track & Field Athlete during her time at the University of North Carolina and Stanford University. Tanner is currently preparing for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials and offers her advice on fueling for the marathon to runcoach and movecoach trainees.

There are many things to worry about in the final days leading up to a marathon. Like mapping out a race strategy in line with your fitness so that you don’t end up becoming intimately acquainted with the “wall”. Like taking care of the not so little things such as sleep, nutrition and stress management to ensure that you can get to the starting line healthy. Point is, fueling strategy really shouldn’t be one of those worrisome things. As long as you practice your fueling method in the long runs leading up to the race and have figured out a way to ensure regular carbohydrate replenishment during the race, you will be ok on this front.

During my first marathon experience (Columbus Marathon, 2003), I was a novice on many fronts and broke some major cardinal marathon rules (most importantly: don’t start a marathon injured, ever!). I had no idea what I was doing on the fueling front either and recall being alone at the expo the day before, trying to decide what type of fluids to try (water or maybe that new, strange-tasting Accelerade?) and how many gels I might need (is 1 or 2 enough?). As was inevitable, my hip injury helped me avoid hitting the wall, by slowing me down in the form of 8 stretching breaks. Not pleasant, for the record. Let’s just say fueling probably would have gotten the better of me had something else not have gotten there first.

Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from some amazing runners over the last 10+ years and have since followed a few simple yet important guidelines in order to avoid the “bonk”:

1.) Take fluids as EARLY as possible – Do not pass the early water stations by. I typically try to take fluid at every station available, sometimes both water and the race-provided electrolyte beverage. This often means fluid consumption at least every 2 miles. You may only successfully take in a couple of ounces per cup, depending on your speed and your ability to coordinate moving and drinking at the same time, so it’s better to focus on frequency of water stops.

2.) Take your gels SLOWLY – Your digestive system can only absorb about 1-1.5 grams of carbohydrate per minute. An average gel contains 20-22 grams of carbohydrate. The quick math here means that your body can’t keep up with you very well if you down the whole gel in one second. In addition, gel consumption becomes even slower if you do not consume it with adequate fluids. I may take a gel every 4-6 miles during the course of the marathon (4-5 gels in total), but I take each one in slowly.

Note: Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, US Olympian and VP of R&D for Gu, told me about me this slow Gu consumption method after she had a successful marathon in cold “frozen Gu” weather (CIM, 2001 – 2nd: 2:37:57). Her Gu had formed into a cold, solid state and she was only able to consume small amounts at a time as it thawed. Despite this, Magda felt properly fueled.

Logistically, slow gel consumption can present some challenges. I prefer to hold onto the packet and take a small amount every minute or so, i.e. “sipping” on the gel. It can become a sticky mess, and the only helpful thing I can offer here is that this is all less annoying if you are wearing gloves. If you prefer other types of fuel, there are options that are already conveniently partitioned into smaller caloric chunks. Think Sport Beans or Clif shot blocks. Always intersperse gel consumption at or near water stations and practice this slow fuel consumption method in training.

3.) Ingest electrolyte-based drinks, not just water - This is another fairly obvious one, but not always followed. Research has supported evolution of sports drinks over recent years and many are purportedly optimal for electrolyte replenishment during the marathon. If you have the choice, it’s best to use beverages backed by science and your own experience. Osmo, UCAN, GuBrew and Nuun are some good newer beverage options with solid science to support their use. The more common beverage choices serve their purpose for most of us too though (Gatorage, Powerade, etc.).

    The same slow carbohydrate absorption rule may apply for your electrolyte drink, but remember that these drinks are often significantly diluted, which can be a good thing. If the race-provided drink tastes too concentrated, try to balance it out with more water consumption at the next station. This may help your digestive system to absorb the carbohydrates more easily.
    Also, if you are at all at risk for hyponatremia, or essentially over-hydrating, counterbalancing your fluid intake with an appropriate volume of electrolytes is even more important. The risk threshold for hyponatremia is known to apply to those who consume approximately 8 oz of fluid (any type) every 20 minutes (a lot!) and this risk is even higher if that fluid is water alone. Don’t over drink.

    4.) Adapt your strategy for weather conditions – Heat and/or humidity will of course greatly increase your rate of sweating and will necessitate increased fluid consumption. Stay on top of that early. Potentially equally damaging in a different way, extremely cold conditions may interfere with your desire to consume fluids. You could then be at risk for dehydration and subsequent muscle cramping if you do not drink according to your normal plan, despite your perceived lack of thirst.

    5) Don’t worry if something goes wrong – If you miss a water station, or an untrained child volunteer throws the cup all over your shirt at mile 16, do not panic. It will be ok as long as you’re following rule #1. Make it up for it at the next stop by grabbing both water and electrolyte drinks.

    I try to remember these themes as I race, but do so in an unscientific way because, in most cases, there are many other elements you cannot control over the course of 26.2 miles. You don’t want to create an overly specific fueling plan in case it becomes difficult to execute. One missed water station and you could find yourself in an unnecessary tailspin of distraction. Based on your individual body composition, it is certainly possible to estimate the precise amount of carbohydrate, electrolyte and fluid you should consume over the course of a marathon. It is extremely difficult to make that precision happen in real life, particularly if you are not fortunate enough to have the luxury of elite water bottles placed at regular intervals over the course. Fortunately, by keeping these general guidelines in mind, you can still get pretty close to optimal fueling and feel good come mile 26!

    We're 2 months into the New Year.  Seems like a good time to revisit the goals we set on 1/1/15.  Here's a look back at a great article by Dena Evans from 2010.

    Goals seem like a good idea at the time.  They motivate us to start, they provide good fodder for conversation, they keep us organized.   However, if they are truly going to be accomplishments we look back on with pride, these goals must also include the risk that we might not pass the test.

    Winter Running

    January 09, 2015
    Winter has arrived!  The days are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping, snow is falling and roads are getting icy.  Are you starting to doubt that you’ll keep your fitness goals on track all winter long?  We’ve got you covered!  Here are some tips to maximize your training opportunities: 
    1. Apparel makes a huge difference! You don't have to spend a lot of money on expensive gear, but layering is key.  Plan to wear an outer layer that blocks the wind and an inner layer that wicks the moisture away from your skin.  If it's extemely cold, add a mid-layer.
    2. Don't overdress.  You'll definitely warm up as you start moving so pretend you are going to workout in weather that is 10 to 15 degrees warmer than it actually is.
    3. Run or walk in daylight whenever possible so you will be able to watch your footing.  If you must workout in the dark, always wear a reflective vest and bright clothing.
    4. Give yourself extra time to warm up.  Your muscles will need it.  Start out slowly and gradually increase your pace.
    5. We sometimes forget to drink enough water when it's colder.  Be sure to drink both before and after your workouts to avoid dehydration.
    Treadmills can be boring, but if you can't find a safe trail or road, don't be afraid to head indoors.  Just keep these 2 tips in mind:
    1. A treadmill ‘pulls’ the ground underneath your feet, and there isn't any wind resistance.  Both of these factors make treadmill workouts a little easier.  Setting the treadmill at a 1 or 2% incline will offset these differences.
    2. Be careful not to alter your form.  It can be tempting to start leaning forward at the hips or to grasp the handrail.  Look for a treadmill in front of a mirror so that you can make sure you maintain your normal form and posture.

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