Forgot username?     |     Forgot password?

Show Blog Categories
Hide Blog Categories
Coach Hiruni Wijayaratne

Coach Hiruni Wijayaratne

January 12, 2021

Glute Activation is Key

As a runner, chances are at some point or another you’ve experienced pain in your hamstrings, knees, or lower back that just won’t seem to let up no matter how much you stretch.
Interestingly enough, this pain may actually be stemming from inactive glute muscles (also known as the ol’ butt).

Luckily, performing a few simple activation exercises pre-run can stop this pain in its tracks, allowing you to run powerful, strong, and injury free.

“So why aren’t my glutes firing?” you may ask.
The most commong reason is that most people sit for long periods of time. The glute muscles tend to stop firing due to a lack of oxygen and tightened hip flexors. This, in return, puts more strain on the lower back, hamstrings, and knees, that imbalanced and stiff feeling when you head out for a run.

Add these simple exercises to your warm up routine and get those glutes firing.
Turn up the intensity of these exercises by adding a resistance band. Aim for 2 sets of 10 reps on each leg.

>> Glute activation video via Single Leg Squat <<

Exercises:

1. Clam shells
 clamshell Lay on your side, with your knees bent at 90 degrees. Keep your feet and ankles together and raise your top knee. Make sure not to raise the knee too high-you should feel a slight tug in the glute area





2. Single Leg Bridgebridge

Keep your one knee bent, and straighten the other legs. Slowly move your leg up and down. Make sure you aren’t feeling this in your hamstring, you want the glutes to be doing all the work.







3. Prone Leg Liftsprone

Lying flat on your stomach, focus on raising first one leg at a time. If the knee bends you are using too much hamstring.










4. Fire Hydrantsfirehydrant
Place your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Flex your feet and keep both your feet flexed even as you raise one leg.

Then raise one leg out to the side, keeping the knee bent to 90 degrees. Lift it as high as you can while keeping your arms straight. Try to not let the foot get higher than the knee or the knee get higher than the foot. Really squeeze the butt cheek as you lift.

Hold for a second or two at the top. Lower down and then repeat. Complete all reps on one side before switching.

chris_blogChris made a successful return to running after having a kidney transplant in 2018. He shares how he found a way to pay it forward and run with a purpose. Prepare to be inspired and learn how you can also be the best version of yourself! 

Major milestone:
My major milestone is getting back to running after having a kidney transplant in January of 2018. So far since returning to running I have ran the Veterans Day 10K  in DC this past November, and recently the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. This coming Sunday I’ll be running the GW Parkway 10 miler.


What is the secret to your success?
The secret to my success is more than one thing that I do to run races. First it’s the desire to keep my living donor’s kidney healthy. I run for my wife, kids, my living donor, her family, my friends and family, and for the individuals I put in the back of my shirt during races that are in need of an organ donor. From there it’s diet, rest and meditation. Those three factors are just as important as the mental aspect. I eat a plant-based diet, get my rest and meditate when I can.


What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?
My goal is to get out and run, right now it’s a basic goal. At times work, family, and my health will prevent a run I have planned. I have to be mindful with the medicine I take that if I start to feel under the weather, I may have to pull back and skip a run. While I may think I can still do it, I’m very in tune with my body. I know others might not like missing a run, and while I may feel that way it’s a brief feeling. I temper it with reminding myself it’s better to miss one run than multiples and a race I may have planned.


What is the most rewarding part of training?
The most rewarding part for me in training is getting out for a run considering all that has happened over the past 3 years. When I get close to race day, I’m excited to run with someone who’s in need on my back to show one can live a full life after a transplant. I also hope my last race that I ran with my living donor Ana, showed people after donation they can still achieve great things.


What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
Enjoy your runs, find joy in them, and when you don’t have the energy or mental strength to run find a purpose in your run. If you can find a way to pay it forward in your runs or races, please do as that’s running with purpose. For me it’s the impact of organ donation and the need for more organ donors. Be a version of your best self.


Anything else you would like to share?
For me it’s you can be a living donor as Ana was for me, and go out and run 10 miles. I’m in no means unique either, I know there are other individuals out there that have received a kidney and doing marathons. The real heroes are the donors, and without them we wouldn’t be able to go out and run again. Also, please consider being an organ donor whether living or deceased. Every month 3,000 people are added to the waitlist for a kidney, and every 13 minutes someone dies waiting for a kidney. By becoming an organ donor you can impact not just one person, but multiple lives. Please sign up to become an organ donor: https://www.donatelife.net/register/


What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?
The experience and app was helpful to see where I was in my training. Having run cross country when I was younger, I could still gauge how I was doing, but the feedback from the app and training suggestions were helpful in the process of running only my second race since having been on around a 10 year hiatus due to my chronic kidney disease.

Speed Work Makes the Dream Work speed
A little speedwork can help you run smoother and faster



Improving foot speed is one of the best things you can do to improve your times. Regardless of what race your are training for 5K or Marathon, faster foot speed, means faster pace. 

Sure, speedwork can seem like a scary beast you don't want to meet or know. But it doesn't have to be. Runcoach's training system encourages at least 1 speed workout every two weeks. This setup can ease you into faster paces, and help your body adapt to a new stimulus. 

Some of the speed work you'll encouter on Runcoach:

Strides - Short burst of speed. Usually 100 meters ( or 25 seconds) 
Fartleks - Periods of fast running intermixed with periods of slower running
Short intervals - High intensity bursts of speed, with slow "recovery" periods
Mix - A tempo effort, sandwiched by short speed intervals

Speed training can spice up your training and lead to better fitness and performances. Have an open mind, and give it a shot!


    Stephanie took 32 minutes off her Marathon time in one year.   She followed her Runcoach plan and paces religiously, stayed consistent and took it one step at a time to her Boston Qualifier for 2020!
  • Taking 32 minutes off my marathon time in one year and Boston Qualifying for 2020!


  • Consistency. I hear people say that they aren't "athletic" enough to run long distances. And honestly, neither am I. But with consistency and regularly putting one foot in front of the other your small gains will grow to become huge achievements. Also, friends that share your same crazy passion. Without my local running club I'm not sure I would have achieved what I did. Company on long runs and people to keep you accountable is worth its weight in gold.
  • Summer in Texas. That's a joke . . . kind of. Summer in Texas is quite brutal, but it makes you strong. The true obstacle, for myself at least, was and has been feelings of doubt. Why aren't my long runs as easy as what I perceive other's to be? Why didn't I hit each one of my intervals at the pace prescribed? Why does everyone seem to run so effortlessly and my legs feel like lead? Then I remember, these are my PERCEPTIONS. My perceptions are not reality. Every run is not going to be perfect. This is the real world and there will be good days and bad days. And at the end of the day, as long as I gave it my best effort, I'm still making progress. So there is a lot of come to Jesus conversations with myself and being conscious of the times that I'm being too hard on myself.
  • Looking back and seeing all of the progress that you've made. And realizing just how many people have supported you along the way and are happy for you. The running community is a phenomenal one, a place of camaraderie and where lifelong friendships are made and for ounce of energy I have given it, it has rewarded me 10 fold.
  • Trust the plan. It works. And be consistent. Don't skip workouts and don't skip long runs. Adjust dates and times, but get out there and do the work. The progress may seem slow when you're in the thick of it, but it is happening and you will make huge strides when you compare the beginning and end!
  • Running provides an individual goal. It is not dependent on coworkers, your boss, a team. It is all about what you put into it and what you want to get out of it. It's the most amazing sport with an amazing community. Take advantage of all it has to offer. I have made life long friends, run in foreign countries, and proven to myself there is nothing I can't accomplish when I put my mind to it and am consistent. Everyone has this same potential in running - to be a little better at something every day. And there just aren't that many things in life that provide you with that feeling.
  • I ran two marathons years and years ago. With zero desire to run another. I was talked into running Marine Corps and through the marathon came upon Run Coach. Since that time I took my marathon from a 4:10:00 to a 3:38:00. In my running club many people use many plans, and most of them involve determining paces and running according to 5k, 10k, half marathon pace. It's all too much math and too much thinking for someone like me. Run Coach does it all for you and I cannot say enough times how perfectly it fits my schedule and personality. The progress is real and I'm so excited to see what new accomplishments await me in the future!
  • As a newcomer to the sport of running, Miriam finds an abundance of enjoyment on the trails and roads. She's 20 kg (44 lbs) lighter and minutes faster than when she started. Read about this University Mathematics Lecturer's "accidental" start and now long-term relationship with running! 


    What is the secret to your success?
    miriam_blog
  • Though sometimes it is hard to get up and go out running, I know that it's worth making effort and start training. And indeed, after the first 10-20 minutes, it feels just great! Also, I try to follow the training schedule, and, in particular, to do workouts according to the schedule. In fact, till recently (i.e. till I joined Runcoach raining program) I just skipped workouts since they did not sound much fun to me. Now I have realized combining different kind of runs (easy, workouts, long urban runs and trails) is a right strategy and that it works for me.

  • It is always hard to start doing workout, but I remind myself that it will help me to enjoy the types of runs which I really like, such as long urban and trail runs. After 15 minutes of training, it starts to feel good.

  • I am lucky to live in Jerusalem, very close to good and beautiful trails, and also challenging urban routes. For me, the best treats are trail runs in the Jerusalem Mountains, with incredible flora and fauna. Also, running on Saturdays and holidays in Jerusalem, when it so quiet, peaceful and almost no traffic. This as close to paradise as I can imagine.



  • Do not give up when it feels not fun. If you approach a difficult stage in your run, say "start a long uphill part, try to smile and think that the life is beautiful. Smiles really help in uphill runs" I have checked it experimentally. 

  • Having training program which is created by computer system is great, but all of us have our individual circumstances (say, stormy weather, illness or injury,  other race events) and also our own tastes and preferences. So it is good to take a computer program as some general direction, and to adjust it to your exact needs. In this matter, communication with "real" coach has a great value, and personally I gained a lot from it!

  • It definitely helps to feel that the Runcoach team values the achievements and encourages moving towards further goals (which includes a help finding proper future goals). I would suggest to increase flexibility in calendar.  Ability for the runner to move future activities one-two days before or after the planned date. Also, it would be good to have a possibility to create a training program which includes trail runs, with respective assignments in terms of timing and running type in different stages of the trail. Though, creating such computer program is a very sophisticated task or just impossible, and perhaps one should just apply his/her own intuition and experience and, of course, consult "real" coaches.
  • joe_successsstoryJoe is a former linebacker and lineman, who found his running legs in the past year. Through personal and family motivation, he lost 30 pounds, and recenly completed an incredible half marathon at the 2019 Houston Aramco Half Marathon.  Read about Joe's journey to fitness,  and how he found a way to quite the voice that wants to stay in the "comfort zone" below. 


    Major milestone:
  • After an 18 year fitness hiatus, my daughter asked if I could wear a 'skinny suit' at her wedding last year. Being far from 'skinny,' I began a fitness and diet regimen. I got to my goal by the wedding, then decided to keep going and run the Houston Half Marathon. I finished in 2:10, which was awesome for me.
  • I signed up to use RunCoach since the last time I ran a half marathon, I trained for it by myself, and it was very tough. The guided workouts and increase in speed and tempo work, along with the rest and cross training days worked wonders! I felt so great running this half.
  • Laziness, pure and simple. Finding the energy to start. My family and I had a crazy couple of years and I felt no desire to try and get fit. When my daughter handed me a goal, that's what got me moving.
  • Just to be able to say at 57, I did it. And I was pretty proud of my time. I'm a former linebacker and lineman from high school football in Texas, I'm not the typical runner type. But, after losing some 30 pounds, it became much easier as the fitness returned.
  • Watch the Little Voice in your head, that's very loud. It showed up a lot, especially towards the end. "Stay in bed. It's too cold." etc. I found 1,000 excuses to not get up and train, but no good reason, so begrudgingly, I moaned and pouted, and hit the road...grateful in the end that I did.
  • The coaching response was awesome when I had a question. Thank you again. I truly think I would not have been able to do it without the help of RunCoach.
  • I always found it amusing when the coach in the app, monitoring my pace, would say "that last mile was a little spicey..." I found myself pushing to get that response occasionally. Thanks again.
    Jacquie recently ran an incredible sub 3 hour marathon at the 2018 California International MarathonJacquie_RC. She accomplished this feat, while working a demanding full-time job, and fulfilling duties as a mom of three. This super woman shares tips to her success below. 

    Major milestone: Completed sub 3:00 marathon


    What is the secret to your success? Making the time to be consistent in training. And coffee.


    What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? As a full-time working mom of three, finding time, consistently, to prioritize me and get my workouts done was, and is, a huge obstacle. In taking those 45, 90, or more, minutes, I initially felt some guilt over what I wasn't doing that was still on my day's list. But, after a few weeks I actually felt better every day having taken the time for myself to reach a goal allowed me to look forward to that "me" time.


    What is the most rewarding part of training? Other than that daily dose of endorphins, reaching new intermediate milestones week to week or month to month!


    What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community? Stick with it - getting started on any given workout is the hardest part, so just suit up, get out there and let yourself go.

    Anything else you would like to share?  Alright, so I "found time" for myself to train, but what about all the other stuff in life that needed to get done? Let's be clear, some of the unimportant stuff just didn't, and additionally I had to get comfortable with the fact that it would get done later or in a different way (did the third grade class really need homemade cupcakes, or would those store-bought ones do just fine?).


  • What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience? The Runcoach app made for my training and success. Having an overview of the week by email each week provides that look ahead to enable planning on when you'll squeeze your workout in. That alone would not be enough for me - having prompts through the app DURING each workout, especially speed and threshold workouts was critical and made tracking the workouts easy (albeit those speed workouts were hard!).

hydrateSummer is one of the best seasons to be a runner.  Enjoy it to the fullest by taking care of these basics.

 

Winter weather often requires the use of treadmills and other indoor facilities, but summer’s heat or thunderstorms may also force you to the air-conditioned sanctuary of the gym.  Here are a few helpful things to remember about how to adjust when running indoors.

Highlights:
- Treadmills are not the enemy
- Bring entertainment (music, movie, book, podcast)
- Bring your own sanitizer (always clean any touchpoint, equipment before use)
- Treadmill belt if softer and less impact that running outside
- Set the incline to 1-2% on the machine 
- Ease into the run. Start nice and slow. 
- Hydrate well and often. Aim to take 3-4 ounces of water every 25-30 minutes.

If running indoors may not be an option, but running outdoors is not either, you may be in a spot where cross training is in order to maintain fitness.  What cross training activity makes the most sense?  Compare and contrast the vast array of currently available options available in gyms today.

 

Heading out on some adventurous runs or driving trips that might include a bunch of miles?  Consider this list of things you might not consider, but can be VERY helpful for runners who are spending a lot of time in the car.

 

All that humidity might leave you a bit sweaty.  Before you deal with the after effects of some serious chafing, read our quick Q&A with a dermatologist about chafing and how to avoid it.  

 

While one of the most obvious topics for summer running, hydration is always worth keeping in mind, particularly if your average fluid consumption consists primarily of coffee or diet coke! Use the summer to build some good habits and read about the “art of hydration” here.

 

 

 

 

September 04, 2020

Recover Like a Boss

ice_bathCongratulations to all those who have completed their goal virtual races over the last few weekends!  Whether you are basking in the afterglow of a milestone reached, or still awaiting the joy of the finish line, it is important to consider the crucial training period of recovery.

 

Previously on the blog, we’ve covered a variety of topics related to recovery that are worth a quick read or re-read.  These include:

 

 

Throughout each of these, the main thread is the message is to take recovery seriously.  One of the ways runcoach differs from template training plans or social training groups that focus solely on the one goal race is the inclusion of a recovery cycle into your plan.  As runners ourselves, we know that running is an ongoing pursuit for many, marked brightly with the signposts of big goals along the way, but more importantly, something we enjoy doing every day.


When you take recovery seriously you can enjoy your daily running without the inconveince of the world of injury or illness.  


I know "recovery" doesn't win medals, or get the awe from your friends the way a hard workout or race does. Think of it this way, if you don't recover forget about the next finish line, a new start line maybe further away than you'd like. 

Must Have's in the Car
glove_box
Even if your runs primarily depart from home or office, running or racing will likely take you to points best accessed by car at some point or another.   Sure, you may not want to have everything in the car at all times, but a few key items left in the car (rather than trying to remember them each time out) can make a runner’s life a bit easier. 

Sanitizer/ Mask

No longer just a suggestion. 

There are bacteria killing hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes easy to use and dispose. A little bit goes a long way after an outdoor bathroom stop, opening a cattle gate, high-five given to a friend or stranger, endless scenarios. 

Maybe you are going to run some errands right before or after your run. Keep a clean mask in the car to use when entering an indoor public space like a grocery store. Keep your face covering clean and dry using these clean masks tips.

 

Blanket / towel (or more than one)

One of these items can provide protection and warmth after a surprise cold rainstorm on a November morning, or a layer between you and the driver’s seat when the air is thick with humidity.  Having a towel or blanket can also make it more likely you will take a moment to stretch or roll, or spend 5-10 minutes adding some core work to the end of your run when you have a spare few moments.  A saved space blanket from the end of a long race can also be an easy to store, useful item as a layer between a gross, sweaty, or wet you and your car.

 

Fuel

Fueling directly after a hard workout or long run is key to regulating your blood sugar and quickening recovery.  Take a moment to stack a few of your favorite bars and some gels for mid run replenishment in the glove box or in a Ziploc in the trunk.  This will ensure you can top off the tank at the end of your run and avoid a midday bonk or rash meal decision due to the sharp pang of hunger + fatigue.  Sometimes, you are coming from a location where you can’t select or prepare a snack to bring with you for before, during, or after.  If you have a snack readily accessible, your chances of success in that workout or run will increase.

 

Water

Even one spare 16 ounce bottle can be of great help if you exhaust your fluids on the run and arrive back at a trailhead with no facilities and a lengthy drive to the nearest gas station or store.  Water can also wash dirt or blood away as needed due to mid-run mishaps.  Pack a dissolveable tablet or two of your favorite electrolyte replacement fluid with your fuel stash, and you will be in even better shape.

 

First Aid Kit

A must.  Even if it includes only some bandaids, Neosporin, and some basic gauze, tape, and perhaps an anti inflammatory, the chance to tend to a mishap directly after it occurs makes a huge difference compared to how that same injury might react hours later.

 

A charger or an adapter

When in remote areas, having a phone charger that works with the car can be of significant help in a tough spot, and with the proliferation of chargers with USB ports, charging a GPS device with the car’s power is now easily possible as well.

 

Hat with a bill, gloves

A running hat with a bill is compact and crushable, but can help keep water from the eyes in a rainstorm and sun from the face when no clouds are in the sky.  Gloves (the cheap throw away kind), can feel like the most precious piece of clothing when they are really needed.  Neither takes up very much space.

 

A Foam Roller or a Massage Stick

Again, if your run is squeezed between other appointments or engagements, or involves a decent length drive to and from, consider keeping a stick in the car.   It takes up very little space, and can be used both to loosen up before the run as well as to start the recovery process without some of the stiffness inevitable on the drive back.

 

Every runner has their particular comfort items, their specific variations of this list that provide peace of mind and care when things haven’t gone well, or even if they have.  A bit of forethought to keep some of these items on hand when driving to runs can clutter the trunk, but can also help our bodies handle the rigors of training well, even while in the midst of our complicated lives.

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 Next > End >>
Page 3 of 4
Runcoach is a brand owned by Focus-N-Fly, Inc Copyright 2021