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So, where do you see yourself on December 31, 2020? hi-5

In a time of chaos, limited social life, increased time spend at home, apparently more "free" time, have you taken the time for some self-reflection. As runners, we are conditioned to set goals based on upcoming races. Well, that's not a sure thing anymore.

Does that mean you shouldn't set goals in favor of not having your heart-broken time and time again? Absolutely not. There is still plenty to strive to accomplish, endorphins to collect, and lifestyle changes to make.


1. Revisit personal annual goals
You may have wanted to run a Boston Qualifier or finish your first ultra-marathon. With both of those events now cancelled, think about why you wanted to reach those goals. 
- Set a smaller goal. Think running a personal best in a one mile - 5K or completing your longest long run ever. Things you can control as an individual have a higher chance of success. 
- Was your audacious goal tied to hopes of weight loss, or a more consistent running routine? That can still get accomplished. Start by setting up your schedule to allow you to dedicate 20-30 minutes per day to exercise. Repeat this for a few weeks, and you're at the start of a routine!

Once you set and complete smaller goals, you are more likely to remain motivated to reach the big, long-term goals. Otherwise, losing motivation could make your goals seem unattainable and increase the chances of veering off course.

2. Attend to your mental and physical needs

Take this strange “down time” from always needing to be in tip-top shape to rebound physically and mentally.

Aches and pains should not be part of your everyday life. If there is an area in your body that’s troublesome, take the time to rest and heal. Then discuss a plan of attack, which includes specific exercises to strength the supporting muscles and tendon with your coach. Same goes for a mental refresh. Burn-out is extremely common among distance runners. Take some pressure off yourself.

Working toward big breakthrough require both physical and mental energy, so it is important that both aspects are attended to when making an appropriate goal for the next time around.  If emotions are high or you are unusually physically worn down, setting a goal will more difficult and irrational.

 

3. Take inventory about what you liked and disliked about your past races

Did you use to race for charity and find your cause to be a crucial motivator?  Did you enjoy (or not enjoy) any travel involved to get to your race site?  Were you enthused by the crowds or did you enjoy the solitude of a less populated and more scenic race route?  Pick the top three enjoyable aspects of your race experience as well as the three aspects that were most problematic to help narrow down what types of races/ goals will suit your preferences.

Once you have a list and your motivators and dislikes, let’s get to work setting up the next challenge.

 

4. Use the resources at your disposal

This is especially key when we consider the change of seasons. If you live in a region where the winters are particularly cold or the summers particularly hot, or if you have become accustomed to doing long runs or challenging workouts during hours that can go from light to dark depending on the season, keep these in mind when selecting your next goal.

If it’s difficult to spend a great deal of time outside, then select a goal that’s short and fast, so your efforts can be concentrated appropriately. Remember, improving your speed is a valuable tool for any runner.



Recover Like a Boss

September 04, 2020

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. 



My Race Has Been Canceled – Now What

Now that we are in uncharted territory with the spread of the coronavirus as a global pandemic, many of you must deal with the cancelation of your respective events.  I want to share my thoughts and empathy with you.

First off, running to many of you, as it is for me is much more than exercise.  It is a stimulus toa path forward when your road gets muddy and blocked.  I have used running throughout my life to “get unstuck” and continue forward.  So, I’m acutely aware of the personal disappointment that many of you currently feel.

Our race goals are more than just fun and certainly not fleeting.  This can only be understood by you – the walkers, the runners, the goal-setters that you are.  There is an incredible personal loss when someone moves the finish line or in this case, takes it away.  I nearly experienced this in 2001, after weeks of 100 miles running in preparation for the New York City Marathon.  Fortunately for me, that race took place after the tragedy of 9/11, and I can only imagine what it would have done to my morale had it been canceled.

All of us at Runcoach are right there with you and share your disappointment.


So now what?

 

Here is my Top 5 List of what to do if your race has been canceled.

1) Go run the distance anyway on the day it was scheduled
-Don’t be a renegade and try to run where the race was supposed to take place as that may clog the streets and put you at risk with traffic.
-Instead go to your favorite running route or treadmill, map out a course concomitant with your goal distance.
-Wake up early, do your normal pre-race routine and go run your personal race.
-Take a friend if you can (and consider keeping a safe distance throughout your personal race)


2) Write a race report
-Enter it on Runcoach if you like so that our coaches can share in your accomplishment
-If you’re not a social type, take the time to draft an email to yourself – highlight your training journey, the ups and downs and how it went when you traversed a different course with no spectators for support


3) Choose a New Goal in the future (preferably at least 10 weeks out)


4) Acknowledge Your Loss
-Losing a race goal is hard
-Contemplate that when you run your replacement race
-Remember – The best is yet to come


5)Be Grateful
-This situation doesn’t take away your fitness or your accomplishment
It is hard to be disappointed when you are grateful
Obviously, there are many far of worse than you – the active and motivated participant


We are runners and we persevere.  All of us at Runcoach feel your pain and are excited to help you reach you next goal.

 

Keep rolling!
tom







Coach Tom
Founder and CEO of Runcoach 



5 Reasons to Race

February 10, 2020

Even if you’re not competitive, there are many good reasons to sign up for an organized event.

racepack

1. Ease your jitters.  Most races—especially 5Ks— are community-oriented events with runners and walkers of all abilities, ages, and levels of fitness. They provide a very supportive low-pressure setting for you. A local 5K is a great way to hold yourself accountable to a specific goal.

2. Check out some new territory. You’ll get a chance to check out new parks, trails, and fun running routes that you might not otherwise discover.  Exploring a new setting is a great way to avoid boredom and burnout.

3. Meet other runners. Chatting with others makes the miles roll by much faster. Races are opportunities to meet people with similar interests and fitness goals.  You might find that friends and coworkers you already knew, love getting outside to run too!

4. Test yourself. Use  a race to establish a baseline of fitness. Enter a race every four to six weeks to track your progress, and determine whether you need to tweak your routine. Plug in your results to the “Goals and Results” page, and we will design a plan that matches the level of activity and fitness you have now. The plan will gradually ramp up mileage and intensity so you can unleash your fitness potential.

5. Get your speedwork done.  Have a hard time getting yourself to do speedwork solo?  Sign up for a race instead of your weekly track session. Once you register, you’re less likely to blow it off. Plus, pinning on that number, and joining the pack of other runners will give you the adrenalin rush you need to push yourself farther and faster.

Remember, in addition to a personalized, training plan, as a Movecoach participant you'll access to expert coaches certified by USATF, USAT, and RRCA. We’re here to answer your questions about training, nutrition, and technical issues.  

*This article was first written by Jennifer Van Allen for Runcoach in 2017.



The number one rule for race day fueling; Don’t do anything new. Training with a race goal in mind, means that every run you do is practice for the race. You are training your muscles, your body, your mind, and your stomach. Learning to fuel and hydrate to get the most out of your training and racing will make a huge difference in the outcome of your performance, and it all starts in your daily practice.

Pre-Race Routine. For any run over 60 minutes, you will want to eat and hydrate beforehand. Beneficial-Facts-of-Healthy-Breakfast-for-School-Kids(See blog on Pre-Run and Post-Run Nutrition). This is a great opportunity to eat and drink the same thing you will on race morning. Once you know what sits well in your stomach, and fuels you for your miles, then stick with it! A standard pre-race breakfast is coffee (or tea) for a little caffeine, a bagel/toast/oatmeal and banana for carbs and fuel, and 16oz of electrolyte mix for hydration. Have this about 3 hours prior to the start of your race of any distance. Try this protocol before workouts and long runs and see how you feel! Adjust accordingly to determine what works for you, and then, don’t deviate.

Mid-Race Protocol. If you are doing a training run or race longer than 60 minutes, you may need to fuel and hydrategelsthroughout. Look up what electrolyte fluid and gels the event will provide. It is very common in half marathon and marathon distances to offer gels on the course, but you want to know the brand, flavor, and if they contain caffeine. Then you will practice with those fluids and gels leading into the race to confirm they work for you. If they do not, you will need to carry your own. In training and racing, take gels every 35-45 minutes. Get the gel in right before a water station, and then drink water to wash it down (do not take electrolyte fluid with a gel). In between, you can take water and electrolyte fluid to stay well hydrated. If you are racing less than an 60 minutes, you will need nothing, or only water to get through the distance.

Practicing your Pre-Race Routine and your Mid-Race Protocol will help you figure out what your body needs to be successful and run strong the whole way!



Guest Blog Post from Heather Tanner drink

Heather Tanner is a 3-time Olympic Trial marathon qualifier, 2004 USA World Half Marathon Team Member and decorated NCAA Cross Country and Track & Field Athlete during her time at the University of North Carolina and Stanford University. Tanner is currently preparing for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials and offers her advice on fueling for the marathon to runcoach and movecoach trainees.

There are many things to worry about in the final days leading up to a marathon. Like mapping out a race strategy in line with your fitness so that you don’t end up becoming intimately acquainted with the “wall”. Like taking care of the not so little things such as sleep, nutrition and stress management to ensure that you can get to the starting line healthy. Point is, fueling strategy really shouldn’t be one of those worrisome things. As long as you practice your fueling method in the long runs leading up to the race and have figured out a way to ensure regular carbohydrate replenishment during the race, you will be ok on this front.

During my first marathon experience (Columbus Marathon, 2003), I was a novice on many fronts and broke some major cardinal marathon rules (most importantly: don’t start a marathon injured, ever!). I had no idea what I was doing on the fueling front either and recall being alone at the expo the day before, trying to decide what type of fluids to try (water or maybe that new, strange-tasting Accelerade?) and how many gels I might need (is 1 or 2 enough?). As was inevitable, my hip injury helped me avoid hitting the wall, by slowing me down in the form of 8 stretching breaks. Not pleasant, for the record. Let’s just say fueling probably would have gotten the better of me had something else not have gotten there first.

Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from some amazing runners over the last 10+ years and have since followed a few simple yet important guidelines in order to avoid the “bonk”:

1.) Take fluids as EARLY as possible – Do not pass the early water stations by. I typically try to take fluid at every station available, sometimes both water and the race-provided electrolyte beverage. This often means fluid consumption at least every 2 miles. You may only successfully take in a couple of ounces per cup, depending on your speed and your ability to coordinate moving and drinking at the same time, so it’s better to focus on frequency of water stops.

2.) Take your gels SLOWLY – Your digestive system can only absorb about 1-1.5 grams of carbohydrate per minute. An average gel contains 20-22 grams of carbohydrate. The quick math here means that your body can’t keep up with you very well if you down the whole gel in one second. In addition, gel consumption becomes even slower if you do not consume it with adequate fluids. I may take a gel every 4-6 miles during the course of the marathon (4-5 gels in total), but I take each one in slowly.

Note: Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, US Olympian and VP of R&D for Gu, told me about me this slow Gu consumption method after she had a successful marathon in cold “frozen Gu” weather (CIM, 2001 – 2nd: 2:37:57). Her Gu had formed into a cold, solid state and she was only able to consume small amounts at a time as it thawed. Despite this, Magda felt properly fueled.

Logistically, slow gel consumption can present some challenges. I prefer to hold onto the packet and take a small amount every minute or so, i.e. “sipping” on the gel. It can become a sticky mess, and the only helpful thing I can offer here is that this is all less annoying if you are wearing gloves. If you prefer other types of fuel, there are options that are already conveniently partitioned into smaller caloric chunks. Think Sport Beans or Clif shot blocks. Always intersperse gel consumption at or near water stations and practice this slow fuel consumption method in training.

3.) Ingest electrolyte-based drinks, not just water - This is another fairly obvious one, but not always followed. Research has supported evolution of sports drinks over recent years and many are purportedly optimal for electrolyte replenishment during the marathon. If you have the choice, it’s best to use beverages backed by science and your own experience. Osmo, UCAN, GuBrew and Nuun are some good newer beverage options with solid science to support their use. The more common beverage choices serve their purpose for most of us too though (Gatorage, Powerade, etc.).

    The same slow carbohydrate absorption rule may apply for your electrolyte drink, but remember that these drinks are often significantly diluted, which can be a good thing. If the race-provided drink tastes too concentrated, try to balance it out with more water consumption at the next station. This may help your digestive system to absorb the carbohydrates more easily.
    Also, if you are at all at risk for hyponatremia, or essentially over-hydrating, counterbalancing your fluid intake with an appropriate volume of electrolytes is even more important. The risk threshold for hyponatremia is known to apply to those who consume approximately 8 oz of fluid (any type) every 20 minutes (a lot!) and this risk is even higher if that fluid is water alone. Don’t over drink.

    4.) Adapt your strategy for weather conditions – Heat and/or humidity will of course greatly increase your rate of sweating and will necessitate increased fluid consumption. Stay on top of that early. Potentially equally damaging in a different way, extremely cold conditions may interfere with your desire to consume fluids. You could then be at risk for dehydration and subsequent muscle cramping if you do not drink according to your normal plan, despite your perceived lack of thirst.

    5) Don’t worry if something goes wrong – If you miss a water station, or an untrained child volunteer throws the cup all over your shirt at mile 16, do not panic. It will be ok as long as you’re following rule #1. Make it up for it at the next stop by grabbing both water and electrolyte drinks.

    I try to remember these themes as I race, but do so in an unscientific way because, in most cases, there are many other elements you cannot control over the course of 26.2 miles. You don’t want to create an overly specific fueling plan in case it becomes difficult to execute. One missed water station and you could find yourself in an unnecessary tailspin of distraction. Based on your individual body composition, it is certainly possible to estimate the precise amount of carbohydrate, electrolyte and fluid you should consume over the course of a marathon. It is extremely difficult to make that precision happen in real life, particularly if you are not fortunate enough to have the luxury of elite water bottles placed at regular intervals over the course. Fortunately, by keeping these general guidelines in mind, you can still get pretty close to optimal fueling and feel good come mile 26!



    "You're only as good as your training, and your training is only as good as your thinking." -Lauren Olivertrust_the_process

    If this is your first race ever, or your 1,000th race, in running, there are times where it gets tough while racing. Especially in the longer races. The doubts, negative thoughts, and emotions can sneak in and take over. Training your mind to focus on positive things will keep you moving forward towards your goals. The mantra you need today may change or evolve, or perhaps you need a few to get you through different parts of the race. Here are some ideas to get you started! 

    Stronger Every Mile

    Run Grateful

    Chase The Dream

    Attitude Is Everything

    Every Mile Is A Gift

    I Can, I Will

    Fit, Fast, Fierce

    You Are Strong

    Focused Every Step

    Embrace The Struggle

    Breathe

    Trust The Process

    Be Strong

    Attitude Determines Direction

    Focus Ahead

    Never Give Up

    Relax

    Be Fearless

    Run Hard, Be Strong, Don't Quit

    Chase Progress

    Run With Ambition

    Feed Your Focus

    Run Inspired

    Believe In You

    Focus Determines Reality

    One Foot In Front Of The Other

    Conquer From Within

    Relentless Spirit

    Tough Times Don't Last

    Enjoy The Journey

    Strive For Progress

    Positive Mind, Positive Outcome












    Q&A with the Runcoach CEO and 2:12 marathoner, Coach Tom McGlynn,tom-260 who shares some thoughts on including a half marathon race within your marathon training. 

    1.) Do you advise runners to race a half marathon prior to running a full marathon?

    If the athlete is preparing for a marathon, then I like to see them run a half marathon 4-7 weeks out.  The reason we like it that far prior to the goal race is that we always recommend enough time to recovery after the half marathon. The recovery period is intended to spring board the athlete into the final marathon stage of training.

    2.) Does practicing race day routine in a half marathon help your marathon?

    The actual practice of waking up, eating, drinking, going to the bathroom and arriving at the start line in plenty of time is most helpful.  Some of the intra-race hydration is important as well.  The half marathon should be thought of as a dress rehearsal for the marathon.

    3.) Does a half marathon time accurately estimate your fitness for the marathon?

    The science suggests that if you double your half marathon time and add about 12 minutes, that would be your current fitness for the marathon.  Meaning that a 2 hour half marathon converts to a 4:12 marathon. This is an extremely rough estimate, and doesn’t consider key variables such as weather, course variation (between half and full), the athlete’s health on either race day,  the need for nutrition and hydration in a full marathon that isn't as important in a half marathon, the runner's form/efficiency, etc

    Do you have any more questions to ask our coaches? Email them today!



    marathonEven if you’re not competitive or you’ve never raced, a Turkey Trot is fun way to get the holiday season off to an exhilarating start. Most Thanksgiving day events are fun, non-competitive community events that benefit worthy causes. If you’re a more seasoned runner, you can use the Turkey Trot to test your fitness, or in lieu of a quality workout. Either way, you’ll be able to enjoy all the holiday treats much more knowing that you’ve already made an investment in your health.

    1. Make it a Family (and Friends) Affair. Whether you’re spending the day with family members or friends, a Turkey Trot is something loved ones of all ages, and levels of fitness and experience can savor. After the race, you’ll all have plenty of time for prepare the meal, catch the sports, and relax. The companionship from family and friends can ease any pressure you might feel about the event. And having a family outing helps reduce the stress and the focus on the holiday meal. Some exhilarating outdoor time can ease holiday stress and relieve any guilt you might be feeling about missing out on training.

    1. Dress Well. Wear shirts, shorts, and pants made of technical materials that wick sweat away from the skin. Avoid cotton, which can cause painful chafing. Dress in layers that you can shed as you warm up. If you’re racing in wintry conditions, it’s especially important to cover your fingers, ears, and head.

    2. Set Realistic Expectations. If you’ve been running on a regular basis, look at your training log and consider the paces of your recent workouts to figure out what a realistic finishing time be. If you haven’t been working out regularly, or you’re recovering from hectic travel, don’t sweat the outcome. Consider doing the race as a run/walk or running without your watch. Alternate between walking and bouts of running so that you can sustain an even level of effort from start to finish..  

    3. Fuel Well. There’s no need to carb load for a short race like a 5-K or 10-K. But have a carb-rich snack of foods that give you a boost without upsetting your stomach. Aim for foods that are low in fat and fiber. Bananas, oatmeal, and toast are all great choices. If you’re running in a 5-K, aim for 200 to 300 calories. Drink plenty of water, as dehydration can make even an easy pace feel difficult. Leave plenty of time before the race to hit the bathrooms.

    4. Start Slow, Finish Strong. When everyone around you is running as fast as they can, it can be tough to focus on running at a comfortable pace that feels sustainable for you. It’s easy to get caught up in the adrenalin of the race pack. But if it’s your first race, it’s important to focus on a strong finish that leaves you feeling positive, confident, and excited about racing again.  When the starting gun fires, think about taking the first 5 to 10 minutes of the race to warm up your muscles, shake out any stiffness and pre-race stress, and ease into your own personal feel-great pace. As the race continues, think about gaining strength with each step closer to the end, and finishing feeling strong.

    1. Adjust your schedule. Add your race to your Goals and Results feed, so we can make sure you have the proper spacing between this effort and your next challenging tasks, and “Adjust Schedule” if necessary. Use the unique flexibility of our training platform to stay on track!


    Have questions? Contact Us!



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