Forgot username?     |     Forgot password?

Show Blog Categories
Hide Blog Categories

summer_runsRunners often love to keep a routine.  In fact, many of us are downright stubborn.  Most of the time, like the last few miles of a marathon, this is an asset.  However, in the warmer months, the conditions may dictate the need to make some adjustments in order to keep your training on track for your fall goal race.   Sometimes, being willing to adjust can help you make the best of an admittedly less than perfect set of conditions, and provide a great opportunity to learn that you can succeed even if you have to deviate from your plan just a bit. 

In this episode of Personal Best, we examine a few quick tips encouraging you to adjust your training for the hottest time of the year.


Be prepared to consider running at other times of day

Perhaps you squeeze in your run at your lunchbreak or at the middle of the day.  Although that may usually provide your best time to run, consider planning ahead, at least on your harder days, to run in the early morning or evening.  Yes, there are benefits to training in the middle of the day to late afternoon vs early in the morning, but the amount of performance benefit lost by training in 95 degrees with 90% humidity is far greater than the impact made by training in the early morning before the sun is overhead or in the evening when it goes down.  Plus, this is also the exact time of year when many runners are beginning to take on new training challenges related to their fall goal races and are vulnerable to a bad day or two if the conditions are not conducive to a strong performance.  If your work/ family schedule doesn't allow this temporary change on a regular basis in the summer, look ahead on your schedule to a few of the most rigorous workouts and do everything you can to protect a favorable time of day in which to complete those at least.

If you can't switch the time of day from when the sun is directly overhead, you can also.....

 

Be prepared to consider running in different venues

Yes, your workout sheet may say "Track," but oftentimes the temperature of a track surface can be several degrees warmer than the surrounding areas.  Use your car odometer or handheld GPS to measure out your track distances on a bikepath or safe road, preferably one that offers a stretch with a bit of shade.  Yes, the surface may be a bit less perfectly flat and reliable than the track, but you will ultimately feel better the closer you can come to a reasonable temperature in which to complete the workout.   Run along a street with more intersections (being careful and paying attention to traffic) that offers shade.  Run the same short loop twice where you might otherwise do it as part of a longer loop that includes much more exposure.  Do what you need to do to accomplish your workout, and allow yourself to be able to recover and come back well the next day.  Come race day this fall, you'll be glad you made a less scenic, but safer choice.

Many gyms will offer trial memberships, or reasonable prices for a month or two in the summer.  Take advantage of these and get on a treadmill.  Some runners are diehard outdoor runners.  However, consider how pleased you will be to run at the right pace, particularly with the luxuries of a waterbottle and towel that you do not have to hold yourself, potentially a TV to watch your favorite team play, etc.  You're not a wimp if you go inside to run on a treadmill!  You are an athlete that is prioritizing your performance and wants to feel good doing it.

 

Plan your running around fluid intake

Many of you know to hydrate, before, during, and after longer runs.  We discussed that topic a few months ago here.  However, there is no time of year where it is more important than the summer.  Before you head out on your normal route and in addition to your normal plans, which may include bringing along a water bottle or camelback, consider adjusting slightly as needed to incorporate parks with water fountains, and vendors or convenience stores that won't mind you buying a quick bottle of sports drink with sweaty dollars pulled from your shorts pocket, etc.  During these months, you will need significantly more fluids than normal, and because you should be in the habit of taking them before you are really parched, you are going to need to plan for a larger amount of intake and at more spots along the way.  In addition to drinking, plan to splash water on your head and neck, and other key cooling areas like the back of your wrists and knees.  Don't get caught out! Finish strong because you have been hydrating the whole time.

 

Wear light colored, breathable fabrics

Although another simple step, it bears reminding that lighter colors absorb less heat, and breathable fabrics will help keep you, if not cooler, then less hot and sweaty.  A hat or visor and sunscreen are key also both to avoiding the immediate problems posed by a sunburn as well as long term problems.  Stay consistent!  Plan ahead for the day.  Bring bodyglide and/ or an extra pair of socks if your sweaty feet tend to cause blisters or too much slipping, and a shirt for afterwards so you aren't sitting in your car dripping and sweating.  It is amazing how much better you will feel if you take care to attend to your attire.

Generally, we think of winter as the harshest season.  Often, summer actually provides the greater challenge because we tend to forget how severely the temperatures can affect us.  In addition to the above, it is important to note that all these steps are important both for your training as well as to avoid heat stroke and non-running related serious heat/ sun ramifications.  Take pride in your training, but not so much that you are not willing to adjust and be flexible if the conditions are unsafe.  If in doubt about a choice you are making to go ahead with a workout, and you don't have a trusted fellow runner to discuss it with, contact us at help@runcoach.com!



Rest is Best

May 21, 2021

Written by Rosie Edwards.

We are runners. And for many of us (as runners), our mentality is to GO, GO, GO! We love to push the boundaries of what we think our bodies can do and live to test the waters in order to gain that extra 1%.

But have you ever stopped to think about how our bodies absorb all of the hard work that we put in?

Insert the HOLY GRAIL of training, REST.

rest_is_best







You might notice the Runcoach schedule has a "6 day max" of run day assignments.  Why does every individual need at least one day off? Let's find out:


- Recovery: Training is a stimulus or stress which elicits a response. We stress our bodies through physical activity. It is within recovery that we see sper compendation of fitness development through cellular adaptation, further capillarization in the legs muscles, and improved blood chemistry to move oxygen to your working muscles. 


- Injury prevention:
It’s no secret that running can be hard on the body. Many of us are road runners. We pound away at the concrete in preparation for our next big opportunity to go fast. Our muscles, joints and bones need a break from this.

 

- Mental breaks: Sure, running is fun, and it can be a great stress reliever. However, a rigorous training program can be mentally challenging, too. A rest day helps to give you time to enjoy other hobbies and avoid burnout.


- Replenishing glycogen stores
: When training we use the glycogen in our muscles for energy and it can be a training regimen in itself to keep these stores topped up through adequate nutrition. A rest day provides you with a day to top them up in preparation for your next big run.

 

So next time that you put your feet up, feel good about it. The rest is part of your training too, after all.



CaptureAs with any new adventure, when you are starting off, it can seem dauting to set a goal. To take some that stress off, we’ve asked our coaches for their top tips.

A goal, no matter the caliber is critical to keep you focused. A goal should be ambitious, but not so wild that it will take you an exceedingly long time to reach it. As a beginner, you will see various levels of successes rather quickly. Use this to your advantage and set several personally relevant goals.

 

(1)    Exercise Regularly – Run consistently

This can be simply to run/ walk/ move your body and sweat 2 – 3 times per week, for a month. Building a routine is the first step toward meaningful change in your life. Your body adapts the more times you teach it to do a skill. Continually running/ walking will improve the response within your body

(2)    Run a Specific Distance

Be it one kilometer, mile or 5K – marathon, set a distance that you can be proud of completing. Time or pace is not relevant at this point. This is a personal record of the farthest distance you can cover in one-go.

(3)    Run Non-Stop

Set yourself a goal to run on-stop over a realistic distance. At first you can even make it a goal to run around your neighborhood without stopping, then move up to a loop around your local park.

(4)    Select a Race

Live events are a rare luxury for now, but you can still register to support a race organization which is meaningful to you. Most virtual races will send you a finisher medal, and other awesome swag. These are treats to reward you for reaching the goal. 

(5)    Weight Loss

Lots of people start running to lose weight. Just like setting your eyes to run a certain distance, you should set a weight loss goal for each week and each month. Experts recommend 0.5-1kg (1-2 lbs) as a safe weekly weight loss goal.



You wouldn’t know it by the strength of her British accent, but Rosie has been in the US for over 10 years. She arrived in Indianapolis to run track and cross country at Butler University. Since then she has progressed through the distances, from 1500 meters to the marathon.rosie_bio3

Rosie is fresh of the plane from her most recent race at the British Olympic Marathon Trials, where she placed third with a time of 2:31. Wowza! She loves all things science-based and enjoys putting her Sports Science Degree and running experience into practice.

 In addition to her coaching on Runcoach, she is a strength and mobility coach and today we asked her to share a few little tips, which may help in your next race build-up:

 Hips don’t lie~

Hip mobility is a huge focus area for runners, whether you are in a car, seated at a desk or watching TV at night, sitting with your knees and hips at 90 degrees can be a little tough on the body.

As runners, hip extension is paramount when opening the stride. However, the everyday seated position can lead to tight and shortened hip flexors which can decrease the length of our stride, costing us precious seconds over each mile and even leading to injuries.

 If you have the ability to sit on an exercise ball rather than a chair it will help to keep your hips mobile throughout the day, while activating and recruiting stabilizing core muscles.

Here are some of her favorite hip-opening stretches.
stretchs2

Another key area that we often neglect are the adductors. If we asked you to log how many steps we take in the forward motion compared to the lateral motion each day we'd wager that the majority of us only build in lateral movement when turning very tight corners.

 This is why our adductors can become weak and as a result, tight.

By adding a little focused work to strengthen these stabilizing muscles we can once again work towards decreasing injury risk.

Strength exercises for this exercise include clamshells, monster walks, and lateral steps with resistance bands.

One of her favorite stretches can be viewed below. The mountain backdrop certainly makes the stretch more enjoyable.

Hold each stretch for 1-2 minutes or move gently in and out of the stretch for mobility, avoid aggressively bouncing.

s3
Taking a few minutes each day to focus on the little things can pay dividends in the long run, no pun intended. Happy running.



Q:  After some of my long runs I completely crash for the rest of the day, and I can't afford to be down for the count - I have stuff to get done!  What can I do?

A:  Make sure you are leaving for your runs with a full tank - hydrated, and with 100-200 calories at least in the hour or two before you start.  Plan for and consume 4-8 oz of electrolyte replacement beverage every 2-3 miles (25-30 mins.) for long runs beyond an hour.  And, most importantly, replenish with carbohydrates as soon as possible after your run = 15-30 minutes max.  A banana, apple, orange, peanut butter sandwich, or energy bar with primarily carbs and some protein included are great choices to save in your car or keep ready at home for your return.  We know that in a depleted state your body will grab carbohydrates and convert them to working glycogen quickly.  So the post-run quick meal (100-200 kcal) within 30 minutes is key.  Miss this window and you'll be playing catch up the rest of the day!


Q:  What should I eat the night before a race?

A:  You should eat familiar foods at a normal dining hour.  The day before a race, incorporate plenty of carbs, but do not stuff yourself with two pounds of pasta.  Eat a moderate amount of a well balanced meal (pasta, chicken breast or bolognese sauce, salad, roll is one example) at dinner, and sip both water and sports drink throughout the day.  Steer clear of alcohol.

One mistake a lot of people at destination races make is to set out from the hotel for dinner at 7, head to a casual dining restaurant which is busy on weekends, wait 45 minutes or an hour for a table, and all of a sudden, start dinner at 9pm when the alarm clock is set for 5am.  Plan ahead and give your body time to assimilate the food and get ready to sleep! You and the line of people behind you at the porta-potties will be grateful.


Q:  How much should I drink during a marathon or half marathon?

A:  First of all, we recommend taking a drink to the start line and consuming 4-8 oz right before the gun goes off.  This is your first water stop.    Plan to consume 6-8 ounces of fluid every 2-3 miles or 25-30 minutes.  For bigger races with aid stations every mile or two, one good rule of thumb is to just take fluid every time (so you don't have to think about it).  A good strategy is to alternate sports drink and water.  Pinch the top between your thumb and fingers, and you can nurse it for a few more yards.  Most importantly, do not wait to consume fluids until you are "thirsty".  At that point, you are already playing catch-up.  Drink early, and when in doubt, choose the electrolyte replacement drink over water - then you'll get both the minerals and the H2O necessary for hydration.


Q: Everybody says I should try this (bar/ gel).  How do I know if it is right for me?

A:  Practice!  Your initial long runs serve as trial and error nutrition workouts.  Once you find your comfort zone with a particular drink, gel or bar include consumption in your longer and more rigorous workouts. Nutrition-wise, nothing you do on race day should be brand new territory.  We recommend consuming a gel packet (always with fluid) or similar amount of carbs through another source such as a banana every 45-60 minutes during a marathon or half marathon, which means you should also be doing this on your Big Kahuna long runs.  Keep in mind if you are following the earlier recommendation of energy drinks every 25-30 minutes you may not need the additional gel/bar/banana replacement.  Many utilize a combination of drinks, gels and food to provide quick available carbs within the race.  Everyone's body is different - make your refueling plan during workouts as deliberate as the other parts of your race preparation and you'll have one less unknown to worry about!



Laura and Colfax have a special relationship. If you are on Instagram @runswithcolfax is sure to brighten your day, especially if you’re lucky enough to catch a photo with Colfax staring at the camera!

 laura1

Laura is a Mom, Veteran, Dietitian, Triathlete, Runner and many more. So you might wonder how she gets it all done in a mere 24-hours? We asked, she replied “It’s habit, beginning with planning and prep the night before”.
Below is an extended Q&A with this super woman. 

 

How or why did you start running? How did you find Runcoach?

-          I originally started running in high school, 24 years ago (eek!). I didn’t make the cut for my school’s soccer and softball teams, so I thought I’d give cross country a try, and then also ran track and field. I took a break from running competitively during college, and then decided to see if I could still run a 5K when my now-husband (fiancé then) was deployed to Iraq in 2004-2005. It turned out I could, and I’ve basically been running regularly ever since.

-          I honestly don’t remember how I first stumbled across Runcoach! I think I saw it mentioned on someone’s blog or Instagram feed a couple years ago and checked it out. After years of using free training plans I found online or wrote up myself, I knew I needed something a little more individualized to not only push myself a little harder but also be appropriate for my personal fitness level and goals.

 

What motivates you to get out the door each morning?

-          These days, it’s habit more than motivation. It’s just what I do, and I know the rest of the day I’ll feel a lot more relaxed and productive if I run (or work out) first thing. Also, Colfax pops up ready to go as soon as my feet hit the floor, and his excitement certainly helps.

 

laura2How did runs with Colfax become a regular thing?

-          It was initially my husband’s plan for us to get a dog that could run with me, since I run early in the morning by myself. We have another dog but she’s never been interested in long slow distance! Sprinting is more her style. He did a lot of research into the breed that would be the best fit for our family, lifestyle, and ability to run long distances, and decided on a Brittany. We got Colfax when he was 4 months old and started him out with walks. After he turned one, I started adding short running intervals – a quarter mile at a time to start, and then gradually built it up from there. At the time, I didn’t think he’d run EVERY run with me, but when I saw how much he enjoyed it, it soon became a regular thing.

**Important note: Colfax is a champion racer. Check out his first-place medal from Palmetto Running Company. Congratulations to Laura on placing first in her age group as well. A truly DYNAMIC DUO!

 

What do you enjoy most about your wellness routine currently?

-          It’s MY time. The rest of my day is often dependent on the priorities of others – at work and at home as a wife and mother of 2 young boys – so the time I spend running and working out is often the only time that’s completely within my control. I have always loved to be active (I’ve been an athlete since age 5), so spending my free time moving in ways that make me feel good physically and mentally is a high priority.

 

What are some of your personal wins?

-          I’m most proud of the times I tried something I’d previously never thought possible, like triathlons, marathons, reaching new training mileage/intensity milestones, remaining active through two pregnancies, and clawing my way back to even higher levels of fitness postpartum and now as I get older. I’ve never ceased to be amazed at what my body can do when my mind gets out of the way.

What are your future goals?

-          The half marathon has broken my heart the last 4 times I’ve run it, all due to situations out of my control. But I’m not giving up! Someday I hope to break my PR of 1:51 (set 8 years ago). I’m also looking forward to eventually running another marathon and breaking 4 hours, but in the meantime, I’m having fun focusing on what I’ve recently decided are my stronger distances – 5K and 10K – and hoping to continue setting PRs in those distances.

 

Laura and Colfax, we are rooting for you both to reach new levels of fitness, personal bests, and enjoy every second of your journey!
Photo cred: Laura from @runswithcolfax 



calendarLike the recipe of your favorite dish, your runcoach training plan combines many difference types of ingredients.  Each of these ingredients are important, even as some of them come in large quantities and some are just a pinch of salt on top of a mound of flour in the bowl.

 

Your runcoach pace chart provides a wide array of paces for various types of workouts prescribed on your individualized schedule,.  Your marathon, maintenance, 80% and half marathon paces are paces your body should be able to handle for long durations – paces at which your cardiovascular system can keep up with the oxygen demand of your muscles for extended periods of time.  Even though you may not be out of breath during this type of running, your muscles are building more extensive and efficient pathways for oxygen and energy delivery.  In addition, your mind is preparing for the lengthy race task ahead.  If you are using a heart rate monitor, this running is done somewhere in the range of 65-85% of your maximum.

 

While some “Pace Runs” on your schedule might be prescribed at slower paces, “threshold” running is designed to challenge you at a comfortably hard level.  This pace should be sustainable for a shorter period of time, say 20-25 minutes, but should not feel easy to continue much beyond that duration. It should also not feel hard after just a few minutes of running.  This area of pacing helps to challenge your body to become more efficient with handling a steadily accumulating blood lactate level (something you will have to do in races shorter than a half marathon).  Threshold workouts are ideally executed at about 88-92% of your maximum heart rate.

 

Crossing the “threshold” literally and figuratively, leads us to paces that can only be performed for shorter, more challenging periods of time.  Balancing intervals or repetitions with just enough rest or active recovery allows an athletes to spend a significant cumulative period of time at a quick pace and high heart rate, conditioning the body and mind to operate effectively and efficiently at that level of demand, which is ideally in the mid to high 90s of maximum heart rate percentage.  If one ran a series of 800m intervals at 4:00 with 90 seconds recovery, each successive interval would see the athlete’s heart rate shoot up more and more quickly within the 4:00, but ideally not so quickly that the athlete could not complete the interval at the prescribed pace.  This effect may result in the first couple intervals of a workout feeling slightly easier than anticipated, tempting the athlete to run faster than the prescribed paces.  While this may seem logical – to run harder initially and shoot the heart rate to the moon on the first interval – the workout is designed to create its effect by the end of the session.  What may seem like a comfortable pace on the first interval turns out to be a misguided assessment as the athlete slows down precipitously at the end or requires way more rest than assigned.

 

Some athletes may wonder why an 800m or 1500m pace might even be assigned to them as they train for a half or full marathon.  Although the bulk of an endurance race training schedule includes work preparing for the paces, energy efficiency, heart rate demand, and mental effort of the longer races, workouts prescribed with some quicker paces allow an athlete to work on running economy.  Workouts or even strides on your schedule at 800m or 1500m pace provide a valuable opportunity for athletes to challenge the fundamentals of their running stride, to teach their legs to have a bit more range of motion in the stride, to strengthen their feet to push off the ground more effectively, quickly, and with strength.  Although they may seem inconsequential in the larger picture, even small improvements in this area can result in large gains considering how many thousands of strides we take during the course of our general training.

 

While it is normal and natural to feel more at home with one type of workout over another, avoid the inclination to slough off the types of workouts that seem unfamiliar or not in your wheelhouse.  Each of the paces prescribed in your schedule has a purpose.  Commit to executing each workout with mindfulness and a sense of purpose.  This is your best chance of turning out a race day “dish” you’ll remember for years.



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. runners

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. 



Updated by Rosie Edwards.

This month, we touch on a question that comes up over and over with brand new and experienced runners alike.

Form Tip:  Arms

Q:  What should I do with my arms when I run?



<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>
Page 2 of 17
Runcoach is a brand owned by Focus-N-Fly, Inc Copyright 2022