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Coach Hiruni W

Coach Hiruni W

Runcoach trainee Beth , shares her incredible story of self-belief, trusting the process, and beating the odds!  

Beth_R._cusromer_success_imageMajor milestone:
From a Wheelchair to Marathon Training is my "MAJOR" milestone that is just incredible... a miracle!


What is the secret to your success? Do a little more today than yesterday. Read on to learn about Beth's 10 steps challenge. 


What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?
In May 2014 I was a cyclist riding hundreds of miles a week. I crashed and landed on my head and face, suffering a Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI for short. My 3 adult children quit and/or took family leave and moved back home to help me get back on my feet. They would say "We got you, don’t worry.”
The first big breakthrough was taking 10 steps. The next day, I went 20 steps. This led to an obsession to add 10 steps a day. I started keeping notes on graph paper. It took two months, and it was a huge accomplishment the first time I ran a mile without stopping! My dog ran every step with me.


What is the most rewarding part of training? I’m proud of myself!!! I ran my first 5K in 2015, then a bunch of trail races. In fact, it is my belief that running and trail running are the reasons my brain has made improvements. I’m reminded of Dr. Jay Alberts, who works with MS patients and advocate for working hard and pushing limit to enhance brain function. I’ve also met some fantastic people, and made some great friends.


What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
It’s fun to change up your routes, especially try to make your long run an adventure! It is my hope that somewhere along the line my story will help even just one other person with a brain injury. It is running that made all the difference in my progress.

 

Anything else you would like to share?
Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have believed that I would become a runner. Nevertheless be training at 63 years old, to run in the NYC Marathon!!!


What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience? I’m one that tends to overdo it and get injured. Runcoach is a reliable way to build gradually and be successful (ha- I hope lol).

Your activity contributions go a long way!

Linkedin-wellness-imageMovecoach understands employees move in all different ways. Below we've worked with your employer and the NHS to even the playing field, and give cyclists, yogis and walkers the same chance to earn wellness points for your movement.

*All points are rewarded on a monthly basis, based on the criteria below.

How to earn points by logging activity:

Per week = 20 points

  • Complete 3 workouts per week (yoga, cross train, classes)
  • Complete 3 mindfulness sessions
  • Cycle 75 miles (120 KM)
  • Step 21 miles (34 KM)
  • Run 21 miles (34 KM)
  • Walk 21 miles (34 KM)
  • Swim 5 miles (8 KM)

 

Per month = 125 points

  • Complete 5 week cross train streak
  • Complete 5 week walk streak
  • Complete 5 week cycle streak
  • Complete 5 week swim streak
  • Complete 5 week run streak
  • Complete 5 week mindfulness streak
  • Complete 5 week workout streak

Log a result from an organized RACE = 150 - 1000 points

  • <5K = 150 points
  • 10K-20K = 175 points
  • Half marathon (21.1K Distance) = 200 points
  • Marathon (42K distance)/ half ironman = 500 points
  • Ironman = 1000 points

FAQ:

1) Can I earn more than 20 points per week and/or more than 125 points per week?

You can only earn points for one physical activity per week. This is a great time to consider mindfulness to bump up your points earnings. 

For example, if you workout more than 3x, cycle more than 75 miles, and meditate 3x all within a week, you've earned a total of 40 points per week. 20 points for logging 3 workouts and 20 points for meditating 3 times per week.

If you’re a woman, chances are you’ve likely had days when your cycle has impacted your runs or workouts. Some of those interruptions may have felt so severe, you've wondered how and when you should exercise during your cycle.

We chatted with Dr. Sahana Gopal, Head of Product at Wild AI (Wild AI is - an app that helps you train, fuel and recover with your female physiology) about the top five most common questions, related to your hormonal changes and how to be prepared tobe in "flo" with your cycle. 

  1. Should I run during my period?

WILD-AI_1You can definitely run while on your cycle, provided you aren’t suffering from period-related symptoms.
Some research even shows that gentle exercise can help reduce severity of period pain. Your hormone levels are actually the lowest at this time, which means that there is minimal impact on your metabolism, your resting heart rate is typically at its lowest, and your time to recover may be quicker. For instance, because female hormones impact metabolism, your body is better able to utilize carbohydrates which are the primary fuel source for high intensity type running. Lower levels of hormones also mean that you’re able to cope with heat better and your time to recover from high intensity work may be shorter, compared to when your hormones are higher.

 

  1. Should I fuel differently during my cycle vs my normal diet?

Estrogen and progesterone are the two main hormones to consider across the menstrual cycle when it comes to nutrition. Because the levels of these two hormones are lowest during the period, they have minimal impact on metabolism and you can stick to your normal intake of protein and carbohydrates based on your workout intensity. It’s also a good idea to focus on having carbohydrates after training as more carbs may be utilized by your muscles at this time of your cycle. Because the period is an inflammatory process, eating foods rich in iron such as fortified cereals, dark green leafy veg and/or beans is a good way to keep levels in check due to blood loss.

 

  1. My cramps are so severe that running is difficult. What should I do to stay active?

Firstly, having a painful period is not normal and there is a lot you can do to change this. Because of the inflammatory process that leads to your period, it’s important to make changes (5-7 days) before its onset so that your body can cope with the increase in inflammation and pain symptoms.WILD-AI_2

  • -Have 1g omega-3 rich food or a supplement

  • -Have food rich in magnesium (250mg) and zinc (30mg)

  • -Reduce saturated fats and dairy products

  • -Have a low dose anti-inflammatory such as baby aspirin or white willow bark.

Always have any supplements approved by your physician.

If you still suffer from cramps, research shows that light-moderate exercise can help reduce pain levels. Try moving your body in any way that feels good to you at this time. Importantly, this doesn't have to be your hardest workout of the month, if you don't feel up to it. Consider focusing on stretching, yoga and flexibility work at this time instead.

 

  1. I’ve noticed my heart rate increases during my period. Is this normal?

Heart rate, particularly at rest, is usually at its lowest during your period, leading up to ovulation, which is the midpoint of the cycle. Once ovulation (release of the egg into the fallopian tube) has occurred, resting heart rate increases along with core body temperature as a result of the increase in female hormones, particularly progesterone.

 

aaron_scrrenAaron recently ran a blazing half marathon, in under 1 hour and 15 minutes. Looking at his performances from the past year, it's hard to imagine all the obstacles he's overcome in his past, including brain cancer. We asked Aaron to share his secrect to success and how he overcame his biggest obstacle (keep reading to find out what this is).

RC: What is your biggest milestone?
AR: I categorize my milestones into two categories: health-related and performance-related. My most significant health-related milestone is re-building my fitness, post-brain cancer, then getting to the start of Philadelphia's Broad Street Run a year after treatment.

The top performance-related milestone is going back to Broad Street Run in 2021 and finishing in under 60 minutes. Then my sub-75-minute performance at this year's Lake Sammamish Half Marathon is also a proud moment on the arc of my running journey.

RC: What is the secret to your success?
AR: Okay, there are five secret ingredients to my success. Are you ready for these?
(1) tsp of consistency,
(2) morsels of not sweating the small stuff.
(3) tons of patience.
*ALL THE VEGETABLES!*
And also, paprika. The secret ingredient is always paprika, isn’t it?

RC: What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?
AR: My biggest obstacle to achieving any of my goals is me! When I get in my way, I turn to the experience I have in overcoming various challenges. The tools in my toolbox include naps, breathing exercises, fartlek workouts, and myriad other methods to cope with goal/soul-crushing obstacles.

RC: What is the most rewarding part of training?
AR: The process or the journey, and the results, also known as the destination, are both rewarding parts of my training. Dialing in on feelings and emotions, mid-session is a rewarding aspect. Sharing the journey with my run buds is a very healthy social reward. And on the subject of health, we all understand how running can provide many health rewards.

I tell my friends and family who ask about my running that it is the best part of my day. So when I look down at my watch mid-run and calculate how much time I have left to run, it's a reminder that when the run is over, the best part of my day ends. I am incredibly grateful for the time I get to spend out on my runs. And that I have a safe and reliable place to run. These privileges are not taken for granted.

RC: What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
AR: Take your running as seriously as you'd like. Ask questions about your training. Information is power and knowing why you are doing a specific workout is valuable in the process of achieving your running goals. As for competition, don't be afraid to put yourself out there before or during a race. Communicating your goals can often lead to "speaking" them into existence. And most importantly, remember to have fun.

RC: Anything else you would like to share?
AR: Love yourself. Love each other. Run happy. EAT YOUR VEGGIES!! ❤

winter_runnerIt's dark. It's icy. Let's admit: It's just hard to get out the door when you instantly turn into a crystal the first few steps outside.

But you have goals to pursue, and miles to run. So, let's find the right gear and attitude, to face the worst of Mother Nature's surprises.

 

Protect The Head

Your head is your control center. if you head is cold, your body will be too.
Find a hat or headband to cover the majority of the head and ears.
Products with Merino wool are perfect as they breathe well, wick moisture, and resist odors.


Wrap The Core

Dress in layers and focus on the core. Think of it like a sandwich. 
1-Base layer to wick sweat away that clings to your skin. 
2-Then a long sleeve shirt or half zip that you can potentially even take off mid run if you get too hot. 
3-Finally a windproof shell (think jacket) to be the first barrier against the elements.



Perfect The Pants


In most situations your legs only need one layer (vs the core). Choose a fleece lined legging or pants for extra warmth. You don't want your pants to be too long or loose. The closer the cloth is to your legs, the better it will keep you warm. If you are running through snow, choose some tall crew socks and tuck the bottom of your pants to the sock!



Go For Glory With Gloves

Depending on the temperature you might find that your core and legs are warm, but hands are cold. This is because our extremities are the first to feel cold and lose circulation when the body tries to warm up.
If it's mildly cold pick a thin pair of sweat wicking gloves. These are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at any apparel store.
If it's windy or below freezing, ditch the gloves for mittens. Mittens keep your finders together, better for circulating body heat. Some mittens come with a wind proof shell, perfect for running in wet winter conditions.

 

Plans change, but the goal remains the same. 

Recently, the US Air Force Marathon announced the shift of the 25th annual event from in-person event to a virtual event.  You can read more about this decision here.

This sparked many of our trainees to evaluate all available options. 
Yes this was supposed to be the Fall of live races, personal bests, and golden memories. Instead, we are back to evaluating "options". As the road race industry and participants continue to navigate through uncertainity, let's remember why we commit out selves to train.  

For Runcoach trainee, Christi the decision was to charge ahead. The training was almost complete, and she is within striking distance of a new personal best half marathon result.

smalled_-_chrisitFrom Christi, "I decided to commit to using the Runcoach app when I signed up for the USAF ½ marathon.  I was looking for a straightforward program that would be user friendly and generate speed and threshold workouts specifically geared towards my fitness level and race time goal.   Completing the training workouts has improved my running form, VO2 max, and confidence.  It has been enjoyable to run such a variety of paces.  This has kept me mentally fresh and stimulated throughout the training weeks". 

Christi, we wish you light feet and a strong heart on your virtual race day. Go enjoy your personal winner's circle!

What To Do When Your Goal Race Gets Delayed?
Don’t Give Up.

amanda_2As the global pandemic nears year one, the mass participation road racing scene is still far from normal. The optimist in you hoped 2021 would finally be the year in which live road race returned to its full glory. Still, races are getting postponed (with valid reason) to the second half of the year. How long should you hold out hope?  What to do with extra time?


First and foremost, absolutely hold on to that optimism! Your favorite road race, standing among strangers, butterflies in your stomach, and the minty muscle cream scent in the air will return. But I empathize with you, as my own race opportunities dwindle away each month. You’re allowed to feel disappointed. Allow yourself the time to go through the stages of coping using the techniques below.


1) Work On Weaknesses

Life is all about perspective. In any circumstance, the way you frame it allows you to move forward. I encourage you to see the delay as extra time to prepare (different from extra time to wait to start).

We all have areas of opportunities to develop and refine. Whether it’s physical (shin splints, weak glutes, runner’s knee, tendonitis), a target weight-loss goal, or mental (anxiety, mental strength to dig deep when it feels hard) the additional months can be invaluable to prepare your body and mind to have an exceptional race when it’s “go time”.


2) Scale Back

A common topic I discuss with my athletes is over-training. It’s the quickest way to kill your joy for running. If your goal race is a half marathon or longer, and the race is postponed, there is no additional benefit to keep loading up on miles. Instead, shift your focus to maintain fitness and find smaller goals to excite you.


3) Setup Time Trials

If this is a new word for you, think of a “Time Trial” as a practice race. Having a goal that you can chase on your own terms can be a big win (especially given the uncertainty  in today’s world). Time trials can help to gauge your fitness, practice pace, try out race tactics, go through race day logistics like type of breakfast, and hone in on the mental side of racing.

Jeff_brune_boston_2Runcoach athlete Jeff is in a similar situation to many BQ athletes. He was hopeful Boston 2021 would go on in April. Most of his preparation in 2020 was done with hope of running a memorable 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston. With the recent news of Boston getting pushed back to the Fall, he’s once again reassessing his training.

Jeff wrote, “I want to chase a half marathon PR, even at altitude I think my old PR is vulnerable”.  That’s all a coach needs to hear, a spark of motivation. We decided on a half marathon time trial about a month out from the initial discussion, with training specifically focused on crushing his current personal best.


4) Explore Off-Road

Without a tight timeline to get ready for “race day” you have a free pass to run on trails, grass, packed snow (stay upright though!). Simply do something different to shake up your usual routes.

Doing so will not only help you see some different scenery, but it will challenge your body to activate muscle groups you don’t normally use while running on a flat road.



In short, when things change... don’t quit. Instead adapt and move forward with your running shoes ON!

January 26, 2021

Single Leg Squat Video

Use this powerful and effective exercise to activate your glutes. 

When you lower  the body on one leg it requires serious control and stability. This act allows you to build lower body strength.
The movement also fires up smaller muscles challenging the core and hip.

Coach Tom demonstrates two variations to include in your injury prevention or pre-run routine. 

Variation 1 = For Beginners
Variant_1


Variation 2 = For Advanced Runners
variant_2

Audrey successfully completed the Marine Corps Marathon a couple times, but kids and life kept her busy and away from marathons for almost 21 years. This year, she virtually completed MCM using Runcoach training! 

“ I am a respiratory therapist and this pandemic has been very stressful on all of us healthcare providers. Spending time improving my physical health has helped my mental and spiritual health too.”aud_3

Major milestone:

This was my first Marathon in 20 yrs! The last Marine Corps Marathon was about 21 yrs ago when I was pregnant with my youngest who is now 20. I ran with a running club and all we did was run. I remember in the training we ran up to 24 miles and being so sore after each long run! After kids, I ran 3-5 times a week, but rarely more than 3 miles.

 

What is the secret to your success?

This time I followed Runcoach almost to the letter including the cross training and core. I only ran 17 or 18 miles before the race went virtual. I was worried and emailed coach Tom because I was concerned it wasn't enough running. He said it was, and I ran the virtual MCM with a local run group.

 

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?

Since the man who plotted the course was an ultramarathoner, his course had all kinds of hills -- It was harder than the actual MCM course would have been. I was a little scared. Once I hit 18 and could still run, I relaxed a little.. then 20, then 24. It was in the 50s in Maryland, windy and pouring rain all day. I finished in a little over 6 hrs. I didn't think I would have taken that long but those hills were tough. I was prepared to be sore the next couple days. To my surprise, I was not! The training really helped and now my next goal is to run an ultramarathon in March 2021.

 

What’s the most rewarding part of training?

The accomplishments! Doing things, like push ups or planks, that I could never do before. I am a respiratory therapist and this pandemic has been very stressful on all of us healthcare providers. Spending time improving my physical health has helped my mental and spiritual health too.

 

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?

For those training, follow the program. It helps! And if you have questions the coaches do actually answer in a timely manner and have great advice. I have always had knee pain after running. I learned it was the way I run. I watched a video, changed how I run, and voila... why didn't someone tell me that years ago?

Anything else you would like to share?

I'm using Runcoach to train for the ultra!

Part 3:  Running Through the Pandemic – Alternatives to Running

 

For the third installation of Running Through the Pandemic, I want to share what I’ve done through the pandemic as alternatives to running.

 

As we move into our 4th quarter of battling Covid-19, many of us find ourselves in need of alternatives to running.

 

In my last two posts, I shared How I Dealt with Bar Air Quality during the fires in the Northwestern part of the U.S. and my Recovery from Injury #2 after my knee surgery in July.

 

For this next edition, I want to discuss some other hobbies I’ve picked up through these uncertain times.  I realize that many of us our back in social restrictions as the virus conditions to disrupt our normal lives and adversely affect so many people.  Additionally, many will now enter the most restrictive winter season without access to gyms and normal workout locations. So here’s what I’ve done (potentially not all positive) in lieu of physical activity.

 

In April, I started fishing more at Coyote Pt. a City Park in San Mateo.  The serenity of the water and the surroundings have always been good for my soul.  Still it is the randomness of the potential and unexpected timing of the reward that drives me the most.  This past spring the San Francisco Bay had one of the best California Halibut runs ever.  My fishing partner/daughter, Riley and I were able to catch this 24” beauty which rendered some wonderful ceviche’ (email me for the recipe’;-).

 halibut

 

I also went back to my youth and taught my older daughter, Olivia how to play my favorite childhood game = Battleship.  As is often the case my 3-0 perfect record soon evaporated an the pupil has now overtaken the teacher.  She leads the series 8-4.

 

 

I also started an online game of Hearts with my mother in western Pennsylvania and my in-laws here in the area.  That has given us time to connect and of course compete during the restrictions.  An online Zoom Christmas Scavenger Hunt with my niece, Elise in Philadelphia was a success (at least in my mind) and Zoom connections have been meaningful throughout.

 

Additionally, I started to play in an online poker game with friends and friends of friends from the East Coast.  This was quite the lesson as I’ve always considered myself a good poker player until I met these guys.  Now I feel like I’ve taken a Master Class in Texas Hold ‘Em and gained what I believe are meaningful insights into playing the hand you’ve been dealt and using the information at your disposal to make good decisions.  Not sure I can entirely recommend this but I wanted to share nonetheless.

 

While I’ve tried meditation throughout the pandemic, the most impactful solace this year was my work with a life coach.  She provides insightful perspective and is an invaluable sounding board as I continue to navigate these choppy waters.

 

Lastly, I’ve enjoyed nights with my wife.  We set use Netflix & Amazon as our before bed hobby and have enjoyed The Boys (not my wife’s favorite), The Social Dillemma (a must see for all of us that look at our phones too often), and especially Schitt’s Creek based on a family that found themselves in crisis long before the pandemic.

 

That’s pretty rosy picture I’ve painted, but the truth of this journey is somewhere in between.  I’ve been moody, anxious and nearly unbearable when not exercising.  I’m sure if you asked my family and those closest to me they would tell a different story of how I’ve been throughout the year, but I keep trying and encourage you all to do the same.  I have also stopped taking calls on my way home from work – it is a terrible habit and I’m happy to be rid of it.

 

If you’ve gotten this far – thank for reading.  I’d love to hear about your alternatives to running and physical activity through the pandemic.

 

Coach Tom’s Top-3 List for Alternatives to Running Through the Pandemic

  1. Double down on all the non-physical activities that bring you joy such as reading, playing cards, watching a TV series, writing, painting, meditation, etc.
  2. Try something new that you wouldn’t normally do.  See my recommendations above.
  3. Stay the course and use this time for resilient self-care and a path forward when things do return to “normal”
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