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Success_Story_AugustFrom Beginner to Marathon Finisher: Unveiling the Journey to a Major Milestone

Sport Running Major milestone: I ran my first full marathon!

What is the secret to your success?

Remaining dedicated to my training and accepting that not all my runs are going to feel great, sometimes it will feel like like you are dragging your feet through concrete. Just don't give up!

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

My busy schedule with two teenagers and a full time job. My run coach [Rosie] helped me adjust my training schedule as needed so that I could still be a great mom and employee while remaining on track to reach my goal.

What is the most rewarding part of training?

Reaching distances that I never thought I could!

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

Use your coach to adjust your plan as needed...give yourself grace and rest when needed also.

Anything else you would like to share?

My coach has been very encouraging. I'm so appreciative of her advice and support.

What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?

It's been great to have live coaching so much better than other training programs. I've tried programs that are so rigid without flexibility in the training schedule.


Training in the Heat

August 24, 2023

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!

Modified by Cally Macumber 



Long_run_2023-07-26_8.34.36_PMCompleting a long run is a rewarding achievement for runners of all levels. Whether it's training for a marathon, half marathon, or simply aiming to improve endurance, long runs play a crucial role in building stamina. However, it's essential to remember that the work doesn't end when the run is over. Proper recovery is the key to maximizing the benefits of your long run and preventing injuries. What are effective recovery strategies to help you bounce back stronger after a long run? Let’s dive in:

Rehydrate and Refuel

Long runs can lead to significant fluid loss through sweat, which can result in dehydration. Proper hydration is crucial for a successful recovery. Within 30 minutes of completing your run, consume a balanced meal or snack that includes carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores and protein to support muscle repair. Additionally, rehydrate with water or an electrolyte-rich beverage to restore essential minerals lost during your run.

Rest and Sleep

One of the most underestimated aspects of recovery is adequate rest and sleep. During sleep, your body undergoes critical repair and rebuilding processes. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night to allow your muscles and joints to recover fully. If you feel fatigued after a long run, don't hesitate to take an extra rest day or adjust your training schedule accordingly. Listen to your body, and know that rest is an essential component of progress.

Ice Baths

Ice baths are a popular recovery technique among many athletes. The cold temperature is believed to constrict blood vessels and reduce inflammation, helping to alleviate muscle soreness. Spend 10-15 minutes chilling out the legs.

Compression Sleeves

Wearing compression sleeves post-run is said to aid in reducing muscle soreness and enhancing blood circulation. These snug-fitting sleeves provide gentle pressure to the muscles, which may help decrease inflammation and promote faster recovery. While the scientific evidence is mixed, many runners swear by it, so give it a try to see how your body responds.

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is an effective way to target tight or sore muscles and release tension. By applying pressure to specific areas of the body, you can increase blood flow and improve tissue mobility. Spend 1-2 minutes rolling each major muscle group to ease any tightness or discomfort.

By incorporating these recovery strategies into your post-run routine, you can bounce back stronger, feeling more energized and ready to take on your next running challenge. Happy running!



success_story_julyTransforming Struggles into Triumphs for a Personal Best Half Marathon Time

What has been your major running milestone?
I ran my second half marathon this year last weekend and ended up taking 18 and half mins off my last half marathon time!

What is the secret to your success?
Prioritising running in my very busy life and making sure that I followed my Runcoach plan as much as possible helped me to not only run without stopping but also knock this time off!

What has been the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how did you move forward?
My IT band started niggling and causing me knee pain three weeks out from the race. I’d been injured before my last half marathon so I knew early treatment and then a belief in myself on the day was key. Having this attitude really helped me and I was beyond thrilled with my time.

What is the most rewarding part of training?
Feeling myself getting stronger and spending time with my running group who are like family to me now.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
Dream big and don’t be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Run outdoors as much as you can and run with others. There’s nothing like keeping yourself accountable especially on those cold and wet days, laughing and chatting with your friends and achieving your goals whether they’re big or small. Above all enjoy yourself and celebrate everything that you achieve!

Is there anything else you would like to share?
I’ve loved training with the Runcoach. It’s exceeded my expectations and I can’t wait to see how much further I can push myself. Thank you Rosie and team!


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)
  • - The treadmill belt is softer and offers less impact than running on pavement
  • - 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.

Updated by Cally on July 15, 2023

 

 

 



Glute Activation is Key

Written by Rosie Edwards June 26, 2023

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.



As a runner, you understand the importance of staying injury-free to maintain training consistency and reach your goals. Running-related injuries can be frustrating setbacks, but with the right knowledge and preventive measures, you can minimize the risk. Stay tuned as we explore effective injury prevention tips, helping you stay strong, healthy, and on the road to success:

Gradual Progression:

  • One of the key factors in preventing injuries is a gradual progression in your training. Avoid sudden increases in mileage or intensity, as this can overload your body and lead to injuries. Gradually increase your mileage, duration, and intensity to allow your muscles, tendons, and bones to adapt and strengthen over time.

Proper Warm-up and Cool-down:

  • A proper warm-up and cool-down routine are crucial for injury prevention. Prior to your run, engage in dynamic stretching and light exercises to warm up your muscles and increase blood flow. After your run, perform static stretches to cool down and improve flexibility. These routines help prepare your body for the demands of running and aid in recovery.

Strength Training:

  • Incorporating strength training into your routine can significantly reduce the risk of running-related injuries. Focus on exercises that target your core, hips, and glutes, as these muscle groups play a vital role in maintaining proper running form and absorbing impact. Include exercises such as squats, lunges, planks, and clamshells to build strength and stability.

Listen to Your Body:

  • One of the most important aspects of injury prevention is listening to your body. Pay attention to any warning signs of pain, discomfort, or fatigue. If you experience persistent pain or discomfort, it's essential to rest and seek professional advice. Ignoring these signals can lead to more severe injuries and prolonged recovery periods.

Proper Footwear:

  • Investing in a good pair of running shoes that suit your foot type is crucial. Ill-fitting or worn-out shoes can contribute to various injuries. We recommend changing shoes every 300-400 miles inclusive any walking or other activities you wear them for in addition to running.

Cross-Training:

  • Incorporating cross-training activities such as swimming, cycling, or strength training on non-running days can help prevent overuse injuries and promote overall fitness. It gives your body a break from the repetitive impact of running while strengthening different muscle groups.

Injury prevention should be a priority for every runner, regardless of experience level. By following these injury prevention tips, you can minimize the risk of common running injuries and enjoy a consistent and fulfilling running journey. Stay proactive in your injury prevention efforts, and keep pounding the pavement with confidence!

 



From Motherhood to a Marathon PR of 2:55:10: Embracing Goals, Consistency, and Camaraderie

What has been your major running milestone? Success_Story

I feel very fortunate to have recently achieved my marathon PR of 2:55:10 at 44. :)  I largely took my 20s and 30s off of training while focused on my three daughters and my career, and it has been really fun to get back into setting goals and training more seriously since turning 40.

How did you get into the sport?
I started running in middle school - it was the most accessible sport for a daughter of an immigrant who otherwise saw the better focus of time on academics. As it got more structured in high school, I loved the trials of practice and competition, as well as the team aspects of the sport.

What is the secret to your success?
Waking up early! I'm usually done with my workouts by 7:15am during the week, whether it's 4 miles or 12. If I'm not done by then, it's likely something else will take priority later in the day and I'd be at risk of not completing it. I also hate having to think about nutrition relative to a late-in-day workout, so it's great to be done early.

What has been the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how did you move forward?
Consistency in doing workouts of effort!  It was easy enough to get out to run 3-5 miles on any given day.  But doing workouts to develop each system is the key to achieving time/race goals!  This is where Runcoach was a huge game changer for me - being able to work with a coach to set a goal and then not have to come up with a plan with WHAT to do, but rather just do it, was critical.

What is the most rewarding part of training?
Camaraderie and seeing it pay off!  For 2023, I made a resolution to do more of my easy days with others, in addition to partners I have for workouts.  It makes a world of difference and running so enjoyable to vary the quieter, music/podcast days with conversation.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
Set a goal, make a date, and stick with it! My friends that don't "get" running usually fall back on "it's so boring". We know that's not true, but even for runners, not having a goal can make training feel a bit aimless.  Set a goal (or goals) for whatever training cycle you like, find friends and other ways to keep yourself accountable - including your coach! - and make sure you get out the door. For a lot of us more distance-oriented folks - especially over 40 - the first couple of miles might not feel great, but KEEP GOING.  Remember that post-workout feeling!

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Meet yourself where you are, and compare yourself to your realistic expectations for that year relative to everything else you're trying to achieve in your life.  And stretch.

Is there anything else you would like to share?
Take the time to understand what nutrition habits work best for you. I've learned a ton in the last two years about what my body needs to feel better, and do better, and calories before and during workouts and good fuel immediately post has made a huge difference.


Summer_Training_PMAs the temperatures rise, summer offers a unique opportunity for runners to embrace the heat and use it as a training advantage for their upcoming fall races. While it may be tempting to retreat to the air-conditioned comfort of a gym, or scale back training during the sweltering months, running in the summer can bring numerous benefits that can significantly enhance your performance in the fall. We will explore the advantages of running in the summer and how it can help you achieve your racing goals in the months to come:

1. Improved Endurance:

Running in the heat challenges your body in ways that can translate into increased endurance and stamina. As your body works harder to regulate its temperature and adapt to environmental conditions, your cardiovascular system becomes more efficient. This improved efficiency can lead to enhanced oxygen utilization, better circulation, and a higher tolerance for physical exertion. By training in the summer, you can push your limits and build a solid foundation for long-distance races in the fall.

2. Mental Toughness:

Enduring hot and humid conditions during summer runs can develop mental toughness and resilience, which are crucial for race day success. Running in uncomfortable conditions teaches you to embrace discomfort, overcome challenges, and stay focused on your goals. The mental strength developed during summer training will carry over to your fall races, helping you push through fatigue, maintain a positive mindset, and tackle any obstacles that come your way.

3. Enhanced Heat Tolerance:

Regular summer running exposes your body to higher temperatures, leading to improved heat tolerance. As you sweat more during runs, your body becomes more efficient at cooling itself, allowing you to handle heat and stress better. This adaptation can be especially beneficial during fall races, where the weather conditions may still be warm. Your body will be better equipped to regulate its temperature, reducing the risk of overheating and enabling you to maintain a strong pace throughout your races.

4. Vitamin D Boost:

Running in the summer sun exposes you to natural sunlight, which stimulates vitamin D production in your body. Vitamin D is essential for bone health, immune function, and mood regulation. Spending time outdoors while running can increase your vitamin D levels, boost your mood, and enhance your overall well-being. The combination of exercise, sunlight, and fresh air can have a powerful positive impact on your mental and emotional state.

5. Race-Day Simulation:

If your fall race is scheduled in a warm climate, summer running provides an opportunity to simulate race conditions and acclimate to the heat. By training in similar environmental conditions, your body gradually adapts and becomes more efficient at managing stress. This acclimation can give you a significant advantage on race day, as your body will be better prepared to perform optimally in challenging conditions.

Embrace the summer heat as an opportunity rather than a hindrance to your training. Stay determined, and remember that the rewards of your hard work will be waiting for you at the finish line! Happy Global Running Day!


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