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Matt Vulanichrc_2mattvulanich

Favorite sport: running

Major milestone: My first milestone was deciding to start running nearly 15 years ago at age 45.  I started with 20 minutes, three time per week on a treadmill as a stress reducer.  Since then, I have run enough miles to go nearly halfway around the world.  In terms of racing, it was completing Leg 5 of the Hood-to-Coast relay last August, as I approached my 60th birthday.  Leg 5 is widely recognized as the most challenging of the race.

What is the secret to your success? There’s no secret.  Just dedication, commitment, the challenge to get better and doing so as the clock ticks.  Father Time is the only undefeated opponent known to humankind.  I won't beat him either, but I'm going to make it tough for him to win!

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? At age 60, the biggest obstacle is staying fit, staying healthy and knowing how hard it will become to maintain my current levels of achievement as I get older. I try overcoming it by making sure that I focus on training, not exercise.  Training is making sure that the workouts, fueling, diet and sleep needed to perform are all in complete balance.  Doing so keeps me physically fit and mentally prepared.

What is the most rewarding part of training? To me, it is rewarding to enter a race and compete at a level that is competitive with a few age groups lower than me. When I compete, I look to see how I performed overall and against anyone, say, 20 years  younger.  So far, I've done well and hope that it continues for a while longer.

What advice would you give to other members of the runcoach community? It's never too late to start. Be committed to an overall training regime.  It's the best way to stay healthy and compete at a high level. And have fun! I All the running plans and programs I've used over the years, I truly appreciate runcoach.  The ability to have a dynamic plan that adjusts along the way to my performance has been great.

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In the Spotlight: Genentech

genentech_lauridiehlLauri Diehl
Senior Pathologist/ Research Pathology

Favorite Fitness Activity: Cycling. I am riding through the mountains along the Adriatic coast of Albania for a week in May. Albania is beautiful and somewhere I wouldn't have travelled to without cycling. I feel very fortunate to get to do these things.

What’s the biggest challenge to moving more? I'm very busy with work (including travel) and family, so training time is an issue. I workout early in the mornings to accommodate that.

What’s the most rewarding part of the challenge? It's been fun seeing how many very active people work at Genentech.  Also, I've seen the value of having a written training plan rather than winging it.  That's something I'm continuing on my own. I've had fun. This was a good idea.

Best advice: Find something you love and make fitness a joyful priority.


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After all the time and effort you invested in training, you want your hard work to pay off on race day.  Here are 10 tips to keep in mind in the final days before the big day. jva_2racing

1. Hydrate. Dehydration can make even an “easy” pace feel harder. Consume plenty of water in the days before the race.  Sip fluids in small doses throughout the day to avoid stomach upset. 

2. Stick to familiar foods. Avoid the temptation at the expo to test out new sports foods and drinks. Stick to foods that have given you a boost during training without upsetting your stomach.  Avoid any new foods or ingredients to avoid GI distress.

3. Stick to the training plan. In the days before the race, it’s tempting to cram in extra mileage or intense workouts to propel yourself to a PR. That’s not a good idea.  You can’t boost your fitness at this point—you only risk injury.  Use the time to rest, run easy, and get plenty of shuteye. You want to feel springy and energetic, and ready to unleash all the strength, and speed you worked so hard to develop.

4. Don't diet...Some runners attempt to cut back on calories during the taper, as they cut back their miles. But in the days before the race, you want to be building up your stores of glycogen so that you can have them to burn during the race. If you’re training for a half-marathon or a marathon, aim to get 70% of your daily calories from carbs in the final three days of your race. If you try to restrict calories, you could end up at the starting line feeling depleted and fatigued.

5. ...But don't get carried away with carb-loading. Other runners use the race as an excuse to eat with abandon. That can lead to GI distress, a heavy-legged feeling at the starting line, and a race that's derailed by emergency pit stops.

6. Review the course. Review the race route and course elevation, or if you can, drive or run on stretches of the course. Take mental notes on where you’ll have to push and where you can cruise. Visualize yourself crossing the finish line feeling composed, strong, and exhilarated.

7. Gather your tried-and-trusted gear.  Resist the temptation to use or wear something new for the special occasion of race day.  A gear or clothing malfunction before or during the race can rock your focus and derail the day you’ve worked so hard to prepare for.  Plan to race in the shoes, apparel, gear, and gadgets that have been reliable in training.

8. Review your logistics.  What are your plans for picking up your race packet? How will you get to the race in the morning and get home afterwards? Where will you park? Make a plan for race weekend, write it down, and stick to it. Spending time to nail down these logistics will help relieve stress on free up energy you need to focus.

9. Reflect on your training. Add up all the miles you logged to train for this big event. Take note of all the times you pushed yourself out the door for a tough workout when you would have rather stayed in. Draw confidence from all that you accomplished on the way to the starting line. Take time to reflect on the major milestones you hit—say the first time you completed a mile, achieved a new personal best, or hit a pace that once felt impossible. Use those memories and that pride to fuel your confidence heading into race day.

10. Reset your goals.  Have a few time goals for the race. Consider how your training went,  how healthy you feel, and any niggling aches and tweaks you may have developed along the way. If work, life, illness or injury got in the way of training, save your original time goal for another day. And be sure to set process goals for the race, which aren’t tied to the numbers on the finish-line clock. You might aim to run up the hills you previously walked, or try to do a negative split—that is, finish the second half the race faster than the first half.

Good luck!

After you cross the finish line, be sure to tell us about your training and racing experience. Share your story here. 



Kathleen Cason joined runcoach in 2015 with a goal of walking her first half marathon, at the age of 61. After beating her goals, she became a runner, and just finished her fourth half marathon in 2:05.

Kathleen Cason
rc_3kathleencasoncrop

Major milestone:  I started out with runcoach as a walker. I wanted to improve my fitness and figured setting a big goal would help. So I aimed to walk a half marathon in under 3 hours and started training with Runcoach. I finished that first one in 2:51:26 in October 2015. In January 2016, I started running. I recently completed my 4th half marathon, in 2:05:50. Three things contributed to my improvement: following my runcoach training plan, joining a running group and finding a compatible running partner.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? I started running at age 61. By including strength training, walking, hiking, mindfulness and realistic goals as part of my training, my age has not been as much of a problem. I do try to take steps to avoid injuries.

What is the most rewarding part of training? I feel like I did when I was 25. I can enjoy many of the activities I enjoyed in my youth and had quit doing when I was less fit.

What advice would you give to other members of the runcoach community? Be realistic about goals, follow  your runcoach training as best as possible and email the coaches if something isn't working out. Be patient, take baby steps and have fun. runcoach has pushed me at times but helped me become a runner. The drills and strides assigned before speed and tempo workouts REALLY improved my strength and speed.

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In the spotlight: Shea Companies

Allison Warrell
National Purchasing Specialist—South Region mc_4allisonwarrell

Favorite Fitness Activity: Weight Lifting. Six years ago I started my journey to lose weight. Originally was a cardio junkie, but I didn’t like the results. I hired a personal trainer who taught me all about weight lifting and I got hooked. Once I started to see my body changing I set a goal to compete in body building. To date I have competed in 4 shows with my 5th show is coming up in June.

What’s the secret to your success? I work hard, stay focused on my diet, and enjoy working out. Competitive Bodybuilding has become my hobby that I love.

What’s your biggest challenge, and how do you overcome it? I stand 3'11" tall. Gym equipment is not made for someone of my stature. I have learned how to modify gym equipment to use it so that it is proper and effective.

What’s the most rewarding part of participating in the Shea Moves 750,000 Miles Challenge? I compete in NPC women's physique division as a bodybuilder. Getting on stage after a hard long 16-18 week prep and showing everything you have worked so hard for is the most rewarding thing ever.

What advice would you give to other members of the challenge? I am a personal trainer as well. I tell my clients I just need them to move. Once they start moving typically it becomes more of a habit after 21 days. Stay Strong and Focused! Remember slow and steady wins the race!    

Share your movecoach success story here!

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In the Spotlight: Genentech


2resize_wardkadel_genentech_cropWard Kadel
Senior Scientific Researcher 
Oncology Biomarker Development

Favorite fitness activity: Competing in triathlons. I recently competed in my first Olympic-distance triathlon of the year, my hometown HITS Napa Valley Triathlon  in beautiful Lake Berryessa.  While it was a very chilly 34F at the swim start, I posted a respectable 03:11:28 on the hilly course by the sunny end. Good fun!"

What’s the secret to your success? I've learned that whenever I hit a bump in the road or a lull in my training, that "I will rebound." That's actually a mantra I use a lot, during my workouts.

What’s the biggest challenge of moving more? Time. I just work very hard each week to find where my workouts can fit in, and then seize that time for the best workout that I can accomplish. I sometimes only have 10 to 15 minutes to workout, so I [mapped out] 1-, 2-, and 3-mile loops around campus. I also will do some of the very short but intense workouts provided by the Fitstar and Fitstar Yoga apps.

What is the most rewarding part of the Genentech 500,000-Mile Challenge? It's very fun to see where I land across the many people that are competing in this challenge and to know that all of them are my own coworkers.

Advice for other members of the Challenge: When I miss a month of working out, I truly miss the beneficial whole body and mind effects. That helps me to get back at it. After many of these periods (life gets in the way!), I know that the first two to three weeks are just going to be very hard, but after that, it gets so much easier to get stronger, healthier and to stay motivated!

You can read Ward's blog here.

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In the spotlight: Shea Companies

Tim Moore has lost 46 pounds since starting the Shea Moves 750,000 Miles Challenge. He ramped up his mountain-biking miles, rebooted his diet, and he's felt a boost to his energy and his mood.

Tim Moore shea_timmoore
Information Systems Manager
Shea Mortgage 

Favorite fitness activity: Mountain Biking

What’s the secret of your success? The Shea Moves 750,000 Miles Challenge motivated me to make a lifestyle change. My wife and I began to eat healthier, and we both increased our physical activity. We  starting with walking the  dogs for a mile once or twice a day, and intentionally parking further away when we were out shopping. I increased my mountain biking from an average of 70 - 100 miles a month, to 200 miles or more a month. I have averaged nearly 250 miles a month for the first four months of the Challenge. I've always been active, but the Challenge definitely motivated me to up my game. Now that the weather is warming up, I will resume the regular dog walks. I also plan to add some strengthening exercises to my weekly activities. In terms of changes to our eating, I basically follow the Nutrisystem method (something my wife and I successfully did back in 1991), only with store-bought food. I have three meals and three snacks per day. I’m eating healthier foods, more fruit and vegetables, fiber, and less red meat. I’m also drinking 8 eight ounce glasses of water per day.

What’s the biggest obstacle to moving more and how do you overcome it? Dedicating the time each day to make it happen.

What’s the most rewarding part of participating in the Shea Moves 750,000 Miles Challenge? Seeing and feeling the results:  In the first four months of the Challenge I lost 46 pounds, and I've maintained my weight since. I have more energy, and an upbeat attitude.

What advice would you give to your fellow challengers? Find an activity that fits your lifestyle. Get your spouse or friends involved to keep you motivated to continue. If you miss a day or two, don't beat yourself up over it. Just be sure to get back at it the first chance you get.


Share your movecoach success story here!

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Elliot Norman had a 3:16 marathon PR and a dream of getting a Boston Qualifying time of 3:05. He used Runcoach to train for the Paris Marathon, and finished the race this weekend in 3:00 smashing his previous PR, and accomplishing his goal.

3elliotnormanparismarathon

What is the secret to your success? I listen to my body, if I don't think I can do a workout distance or pace I back off. I focus on form and try to think about how life decisions outside of running—in terms of things like diet, alcohol, and sleep— will impact performance.

What’s the biggest obstacle to reaching your goal and how do you overcome it? I think I have struggled in previous marathons to execute my success in shorter races and training runs through the last few miles of the marathon. This feels like a mental hurdle that I was hoping to push through by following an increased mileage plan with Runcoach.

What’s the most rewarding part of your training? Seeing the improvements in my times when it comes to race day and the feeling of satisfaction and achievement on a daily basis from completing my workouts.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community? Everyone is different.  Train to your body and your capabilities, adjust your goals based on your progress. Don't ramp up distance or pace too fast, take your time and don't push too hard all the time. You're better off skipping a workout and resting to let yourself heal and recover than to push through and miss a lot more because of injury.

Tell us about your racing success at the Paris Marathon. I started with Runcoach with the goal of making my Boston Qualifying time. After completing the Marine Corps Marathon in 3:16 and having a half-marathon PR of 1:21, I knew I had it in me. But I hadn’t found the right training combo to execute well in the marathon. I tore my calf last May which ruled out my fall marathon and so I reset my goal for the 2017 Paris Marathon. When I registered, I was conservative and estimated a 3:15 finishing time. But after very closely following my prescribed training plan I thought I would be close to the 3:05 I needed to BQ. I knew that time was unlikely to get an entry but seemed like a good goal. At the expo I had to use race results to move up a corral and was actually put in to the sub-3 ‘preferential’ group. I started at the back of the group to ensure I didn’t get wrapped up in a group whose pace was well above my capability and to give myself some room.


It’s a beautiful course starting on the Champs-Élysées with the sun rising on the Arc De Triomphe. It was 50 degrees, with no wind and clear skies. The conditions couldn’t be more perfect and the further in to the race I got, the better I felt. During my training I would stop every 5K at water fountains. So I  walked through the water stops, while this cost me a little time it ensured I was well hydrated and able to refocus on the next few miles ahead. 

As I hit the half-marathon mark in 1:29 I felt good and was starting to think that if I could keep that pace up I had a shot of going sub-3. But I stayed focus on my original goal. I knew there were a lot of miles to go. Paris is a beautiful city but I was focused on being on the ‘green line’ painted to show the shortest way around the course the whole time. As I ticked off the miles waiting for the wall to come I continued to feel good. Having drastically increased my mileage since starting with runcoach, I was more confident and I could visualize those last 9 miles as one of my normal weekday runs. I kept focusing on the sacrifices I’d made and the motivation my family give me to push. I was frantically doing the mental math over the last 6 miles to see if I’d break 3 hours. In the end, I finished in 3:00:25. Still way below what I dreamed and shattering my goal and PR.

Those 26 seconds frustrate me but gives me motivation for Chicago in the fall and hopefully Boston next April. I’ve already put both into Runcoach and after a short break I am excited to start training for them again.    

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In the Spotlight: Genentech

Marcia Coyne

Associate Director, Cell Banking

marciacoyneambFavorite fitness activity: Walking.   I also enjoy rowing and am seeing the benefits of upper body conditioning. I'm trying a few new sports, like Stand Up Paddeboarding and Orange Theory,  to see what types of activities I enjoy.  ​ ​I've been tracking my steps for over three years now​, making sure to average at least 10,000 steps per day.I just finished my first half-marathon—with no pain and I'm ready to do another! 

What’s the biggest obstacle to moving more? Time is the biggest obstacle, however making movement a priority has helped.  Since last November, I've lost almost 50 pounds and over 35 inches (from the neck, arms, chest, waist, hips, thighs and calves).  I've gotten healthier. (No more blood pressure medications!), and I’ve gotten a whole new wardrobe to keep me moving!

What's the most rewarding part of participating in the Genentech 500,000-Mile Challenge? The company-wide challenge wasn't part of the picture for me, but I like seeing who else is participating and it adds a bit of accountability, but I really needed to step up and do this for myself.​

Best advice: Keep moving! Every little bit helps.

Share your movecoach success story here!

Click here to join the Genentech 500,000-Mile Challenge


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