September 06, 2016
Race day is almost here! Remember to lay low and stay off your feet the days before the race. Your reward is race day itself and the challenge of running. . . .
Make sure you get outside and feel the air. Go for at least a 20 minute walk or jog on either the day before, or two days before (or whatever is on your schedule).
Think about what you did, not what you didn’t do in your training. When you go to pick up your race number and run into old friends, family etc. everyone will want to ask about your training so they can tell you about theirs. Forget about theirs and don’t compare yourself to anyone. You followed a terrific training schedule and are well prepared.
On race day eat a light breakfast of 200-300 Kcal of carbohydrates including the sports fluid you drink. If you have a normal pre-race breakfast then stick with it. Don't try any new foods before the race. Drink gatorade (or any sports drink that doesn’t include protein) and/or water frequently to assure you are hydrated (clear urine is a good sign). You should stay well-hydrated throughout the morning before the race. At some point prior to the race stop drinking so you can empty your bladder before the start. It is important to refrain from over-consumption of water alone, as that will drain your body of needed electrolytes.
I suggest you take some throw away warmups to the start especially if it rains or will be cold. This could be an old t-shirt or old sweat pants. Also old socks will keep your hands warm. Some runners will even wear a t-shirt for the first couple miles of the race until they warm up and then pull it off and throw it away. This is a good strategy to prepare for all temperatures.
Take a bottle with gatorade/sports drink to the start with you and right before (less than 5 mins) the gun goes off drink 4-8 ounces. This is your first water stop. If you drink close enough to the start you shouldn’t have to pee – the fluid should only drip through your kidneys because most of your resources (blood) will be in your legs and out of your gut as soon as the gun goes off.
I suggest that you start 5-10 seconds per mile slower than your goal pace. By the 2nd mile you should be running at around goal pace while listening to your body. I recommend this approach as it may activate (and utilize) a higher percentage of fat fuel over the first couple miles. Remember we are trying to conserve glycogen and muscle for as long as possible.
Stay on top of hydration. Fluid stations will be located at 4 stations throughout the course. Take note of these opportunities to rehydrate and plan to drink 4-8 ounces every 20 minutes. It is better to consume enough fluid early and sacrifice the later stops if necessary.
Remember the 3 ‘C’s’
Confidence: Have confidence in your ability and your training. Remember all those hard workouts you did. Remember those early mornings, late nights, sore calves, tight hamstrings etc. - they weren’t in jest.
Control: You must relax yourself early in the race. You absolutely must go out under control for the first half of the race. We want to save a little bit for the final miles.
Collection: Keep your thoughts collected and on your objective. There will always be lots of distractions on race day. The further you get in this race the more you need to focus on yourself, goals and race strategy. Don’t let the fans and competitors into your zone.
The Ebb and Flow
I said before that I can’t guarantee anything about the training or the race itself. Well, I can guarantee this: you will feel good at some point and you will feel bad at some point within the race.
Races usually ebb and flow, runners rarely feel terrific the entire way. We always hit little walls. If you hit one just focus on the next mile, don’t think about the end of the race. If you take each difficult moment one mile at a time you will usually feel better at some point. It always comes back because. . .
You Always Have One Cup Left
That’s right – you always have one cup of energy left. The difference is that some people find it and some don’t. Remember what normal, untrained people do when they feel discomfort – they slow down and feel better. You are not a normal un-trained person.
You are a runnining machine!
You are programmed to give your personal best so. . .Go get that last cup!
Published in Racing
August 29, 2016
Originally posted by Dena Evans on Feb. 6, 2014
Myth #1: If you don’t have time for the entire prescribed XXworkout, you should just skip the whole thing.
We all know the nagging pain of a day where the alarm didn’t go off, your toddler is sick, work is a fire drill, or the weather is garbage. The scheduled workout is Just. Not. Going. To. Happen. In frustration, it can be tempting to bag everything and sulk. Don’t. Your schedule is the best-case scenario, and every single runner has had to punt and pivot now and again. If the track workout isn’t an option, an aerobic run can still help clear your head, and keep you on track for either an adjusted workout day later in the week or next week’s tasks. If the schedule calls for 45 minutes and you only have 25 minutes, your body will get a significant benefit from doing even half the work. If you are taking an unplanned “zero” in the log, focus your mental energy on the positives – more freshness for the next session, accomplishment of the tasks and issues that have stolen your run time, and the confidence that a day or few off does not have to have a significant impact on your fitness level.
Myth #2: Days off are for wimps.
Training hard is important to get toward your goal, but without recovery, your muscles don’t have the ability to adapt and recoup after the stress you have placed on them already. Recuperation time allows your body to return to preparedness for the stimulus ahead and in doing so, get the most out of the upcoming challenge. Running hard every day drives your body into a deeper and deeper hole from which it eventually becomes impossible to escape. Build your schedule with some planned and regular rest, and the chances of you making it to the start line of your goal race will increase immensely.
Myth #3: You will set a personal best every single race or you are not trying hard enough.
There are many, many factors that contribute to a personal best day. An accurately (or inaccurately) measured course. A tail or head wind. Hills. A bad meal the night before. How well recovered you are. Your bout of flu last week. Neglecting to hydrate along the route or beforehand. The list goes on and on. These are not excuses, but factors which can both enhance or diminish the yield from your training up to that point. Your actual fitness plays the largest role, but smart training includes a slight cyclical effect where recovery periods are interspersed with hard training and tapering for goal events. 100% effort each time can be a good way to practice the significant demand your body will require when it is primed for a signature day, but even top level effort each time may not always result in a new level of achievement, particularly for experienced runners who have been through the train and taper cycle in the past. Concentrate on the quality of your preparation, the execution of your plan, and when your body is ready, you’ll have good racing habits and attitude down pat.
Myth #4a: The more cushioning in your shoes, the better chance you have of avoiding injury.
Most athletes do not need to purchase the shoes with the maximum potential padding, structure, or stability in order to stay injury free, and in fact these shoes can sometimes impede your stride from operating at its greatest efficiency. Each foot and every person is different. Consider getting a gait analysis from an experienced staff member at a reputable running specialty store in your neck of the woods, and adding that info to your reasoning as you choose your next pair of shoes. Well-cushioned shoes have indeed helped many non-runners become runners through the years, but for many athletes, other choices may serve the body better.
Myth #4b: The less cushioning in your shoes, the better chance you have of avoiding injury.
In recent years, thousands of runners have become enamored with the “minimalist” segment of the running shoe market. These are typically footwear with much or all of the heel lift eliminated, or shoes meant to simulate running barefoot with various ways of wrapping around the foot or articulating the sole. While incorporating barefoot running or minimalist footwear into a larger program to strengthen the foot and lower leg can be very beneficial, these decisions must be made in context. Injury history, the restraint to gradually incorporate this type of running, and the availability of suitable and safe terrain must all be considered. Again, minimalist footwear have been invaluable tools for many runners, but just because you want to be one of those runners, doesn’t mean you are. Get some input from your experienced local running specialty retailer or a podiatrist, and don’t do anything all at once.
Myth #5: Training for a marathon is a great crash diet.
Physical fitness is a great by-product of decision to train for a half or full marathon. Weight loss may result, but the “goal beyond the goal” should always be sustainable, healthy habits. Athleticism, strength, endurance are all aspects of your best self that need to come to the fore in order for you to reach your race finish line. Explicit, short term dieting and caloric reduction while maintaining a schedule of challenging running tasks can be detrimental to your training and health at best, and dangerous at worst. We want running to be a life-long, rewarding pursuit, but we also know it fits into a larger context of healthy diet, sleep, lifestyle, and fitness choices. Incremental changes you can live with, while adjusting to training, can help ensure that this goal won’t be the end of your training, but just the start.
February 29, 2016
Guest blog post by Mike Machula
Starting my journey with runcoach was a lucky accident – using their training program this last year I not only set two PR’s in one race but I blew them away. There must be something to the program when you run your fastest half marathon ever during the second half of a full marathon.
I first met the runcoach team at the Houston Marathon Expo in January 2015 and they told me this incredible story about how the average runner training on their program improved 7%. They even claimed some runners felt strong at the end of their race and could have kept going. I wanted to believe it, but I was little skeptical because I had trained so hard using a lot of other programs and never seen results anywhere close to that. My goal for the 2015 Marathon was to break 4 hours. While I felt I could do it if I had a very good run (ran 3:56:57), I was not confident. Thinking I might not make my goal, I figured runcoach might be the way to make it the next time, so I decided to give the program a shot. I told them if I had anywhere close to a 7% increase I’d give them a glowing review. I am now more than happy to keep that promise. I think my training story and results will speak to the success of the runcoach program.
When I started the runcoach program in February 2015, I decided I just wanted to maintain my current fitness level for a little while and ran three days a week. Everything was going fine and I stayed with it consistently through the beginning of summer. Vacations, kids activities and the hot Houston weather made it difficult to maintain the schedule in June, July and some of August. In September, after chatting with coach Ashley about the Marathon being a little less than five months away, I ramped up my training to four days a week. At this point I followed the schedule pretty religiously.
The training to me never felt overly strenuous. That actually concerned me a little because I held the typical male belief in the back of my head that if you aren’t pushing yourself 110% and feeling it then you can’t be improving. However, I really trusted the runcoach team to know better than I did and so I kept following the program. The long runs were just that, long but not strenuous at all. I figured I was getting my improvement on the threshold and speed days. Those runs were challenging but never to the point where I felt incapable of doing it. Just when I felt like it might be too much, I completed the fast pace portion and had enough recovery time between sets that allowed me to keep going for the entire workout.
In November, two months prior to the marathon, I had a run that convinced me the program was actually working. The day was supposed to be an easy 5 mile run at a 9:30 pace. It was a pleasant evening but nothing special. I set out my 5 mile loop around the neighborhood and I didn’t pay much attention to my pace. At mile 1, my GPS watch vibrated and I looked down to see I just ran an 8:00 pace. I didn’t think much of it and kept going. At mile 2, the watch vibrated and showed a 7:35 for the previous mile. At that point I was a little surprised because I felt really good – like I was running my normal pace. I kept going and at mile 3, I completed a 7:40. Now I’m thinking to myself, the last time I ran a sub 8:00 pace over 5 miles was 5 years ago (I remember the day well because I’d accomplished a goal). Knowing I had 2 miles remaining I decided to keep up the pace and ran the 5 miles in 38:30 (7:42). Five years of running and I had never been able to repeat it and on that November day I did it without really even trying.
A month later, during my longest training run, I knew the training was working because at mile 20 I felt like I had a lot left in the tank. I had two more miles to go and I decided to pick up the pace by a minute per mile and see what would happen. I had no problem finishing at that high pace and could have kept going for much longer.
Race day in Houston was a perfect January day (45 degrees, light wind and sunny). I started out intentionally slow for the first few miles to conserve energy. Everything felt great as I picked up the pace to around 1:10/mile faster than my training pace. I kept it there for the rest of the race. At mile 8, I remember thinking to myself this can’t be right because it feels like I just started. I had to remind myself to take my energy Gu and often was surprised that the next water station came so quick. Halfway though I continued to feel good and missed setting a half marathon PR by 1 second (1:50:24). At mile 17 nothing happened. The previous year that’s the point I really started to become aware of my legs. At mile 20 I started thinking I hope I can keep this pace up. I had no idea what the wall would do to me at this pace or when it would come. Around mile 23 I felt the energy drain, but it wasn’t that bad. The previous year I slowed way down, but this year I managed to keep the same pace. I just had to concentrate on doing it. I would compare it to the same concentration it takes to force yourself to walk as fast as you can. Not bad at all. With a mile to go, I felt a million times stronger than the previous year, picked up the pace and ran my fastest mile of the marathon. I finished with a time of 3:40:20 (which happens to be a 7% improvement from the previous PR). Incredible! Thanks runcoach!
Published in Blog
November 24, 2015
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.
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.
June 26, 2015
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.
Time 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
- 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
We 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.
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.
Nutrition: Calories 353; Fat 8g, Carbs 56g, protein 14g
Last 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.
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
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.
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!
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
For stove top
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!