My Advice For You: The Runner
As an online running coach, you won’t find me with a stopwatch in hand overseeing my runners during their workouts. It’s not possible, even if I wanted it to be. I have runners in all corners of the country, and so, as you can imagine, a lot has to be said and then implied when we do interact.
I’m present in spirit and, if I’m doing my job correctly, the athletes I coach become, in effect, my assistant coaches. They ultimately make the call on whether they do that last repetition, or how fast they run their recovery runs.
Within the coach/athlete relationship, a lot of communication happens. Some of it is explicit within the daily training (run this pace, with this much recovery) and some of it is general advice (hydrate, stretch, be flexible and be open-minded). Regardless of what type of information I’m passing on, my goal is to make the runners I coach smarter runners who race faster. At the end of the day, it’s my responsibility to give them the knowledge and self-efficacy to move on from me and be their own voice in their training.
That being said, here are some of the key pieces of information I’ve shared with them throughout the summer as we’ve built, tinkered, and fine-tuned our approaches to their peak races. (These are in no particular order).
Taking Care of Yourself
- Don’t neglect foam rolling, massage, icing, and stretching. Plus, incorporate strength training and yoga into your plan. All of these will make training possible.
- Avoid the hottest part of the day. Run early, run late or run inside on a treadmill.
- Hydrate often throughout the day and if necessary, bring water/hydration with you when you run.
Training (and Racing) Philosophy
- “Comfortably hard” is a range of effort that is roughly 10k to half marathon pace. Roughly a 6 out of 10 in terms of effort. It’s typically called your threshold pace or your tempo pace. Here are some articles on this pace.
- Run days the day after a long run or a workout should be considered a recovery run. They should not be fast paces, rather, they should be tougher because of fatigue. Don’t make them harder by running them too fast.
- Cross training is any cardio based activity that allows your body to recover can be done as swimming, biking, or on the elliptical. Anything that gets your heart rate up, but doesn’t bother your injured area are all GREAT forms of XT.
- Most runs should start slower than they finish. When you finish a run, you should feel “fast” and not slogging through the run. And, the pace on an easy run should be comfortable and finishing like you could go out and run for another 2 miles if asked.
- Remember that “easy” pace varies based on weather, course/loop, current fatigue, etc
- Always adjust your pace to reflect the conditions (heat, sun, lack of sleep, hills, etc).
Having an online running coach is great for runners who don’t need their hand holding and can get their training done because they want to get it done. The coach/athlete relationship works well when both communicate, ask questions, and are flexible. If runners, whether coached or not, take the 9 tips above and put them to good use, they will ultimately be a better runner and athlete.
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I am a USATF Track and Field & Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT O2 certified running coach. I have more than 19 years of experience running and more than 10 years of experience coaching runners. Click for more information!