Winter Strength and Conditioning

Winter Strength & Conditioning

Running is my passion and where I focus a lot of my daily energy at.  I’m driven to help runners become stronger and smarter athletes. I was a high school coach for a number of years and I continue to work with adult runners, but I’m also turning my focus to the younger runners.

Winter Workouts for Middle School Runners

 

Continue reading

Advertisements

Race Day Running Routine

Optimizing Your Racing Potential

Racing to your optimal performance level is complicated because there are so many factors that go into performing at a high level. A lot goes into running fast. It’s so much more than being physically prepared. I know a lot of runners who are in peak fitness shape and yet cannot perform to the level they’d hoped to have achieved. Why is that? Well, there are. Continue reading

IT Band Pain for Runners

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (IT Band): how to identify if you have it, fix it, and prevent it from returning

How to identify, fix and prevent IT Band pain

How to identify, fix and prevent IT Band pain

According to Runner’s World, ITB is “one of the most common overuse injuries among runners.”  Competitor Running says that the IT band is a “thick piece of connective tissue that runs parallel to the femur from the hip to the knee.” Continue reading

Determining Marathon Goal Time

Determining Marathon Goal Time

Marathon season is fast approaching. Spring races will be upon us before you know it. You’ve done a bit of easy running to stay in shape over the winter. And now you’ve signed up for a 26.2-mile race… What happens next?predict marathon pace (1)

If you’ve run a marathon before, you have some prior knowledge about what it takes to successfully complete the full distance. But if this is your first one, you might have little clue about what to expect. Continue reading

Smart Running Tips

Running Tips for the Smart Runners

Shalane Flanagan recently said, “You can’t take a Ferrari off-roading”… as she announces that she’s injured and pulling out of the Boston Marathon this April.

This Ferrari analogy is so true as so many distance runners find themselves taking their race car bodies into uncharted and unfamiliar territories without pause or hesitation. smart-running-strategies 


Jump back into training with a hard 12 miler? Sure!  

Track workout in spikes after years of no spikes?  Why not!

A major injury in April. June marathon?  Yes, please!

All of this leads to heartache, headache, and unworn running clothes.  We constantly make these decisions… And yet, we’re not quite sure why we always get these repetitive injuries… Maybe we’ll learn..


Injury prevention is one of my “schticks” as I’m often on the receiving end of long stretches of zero running – and not from the above-mentioned reasons…  Running injuries suck.  Any injuries suck, but being a runner and injured is the worst.  

Dealing with injuries

Dealing with injuries


Variation is Key to Injury Prevention

Pacing Variation

There are lots of paces on the spectrum of running… Hitting all of them may make us a more well-rounded runner.  Focusing most days on easy/recovery runs is one way.  Then touching on each of the “major” running paces (ie: tempo, threshold, interval, & race pace) will ensure we stay fresh, motivated, and healthy.  Mixing in cross-training days and off days will also play a huge role.

“Train smarter: If you run your easy runs harder than necessary, you won’t be able to run your hard runs as hard as necessary.”


Race Distance Variation

Can’t always be a marathoner.  There comes a time when speed work (ie: 5k work and lower) plays an important role in the success of a runner.  Too often, we get into the mindset that what we are is what we always have to be.  Here to tell you that you don’t have to be confined to a certain mold.


Training Location Variation

Running on 1 surface for every run is oftentimes equal parts boring and risky.  By varying your terrain – roads, trails, packed dirt, hills, grass, track, etc – you can work different muscles and put less strain on the bones and joints that get used to running on a specific surface all the time.IMG_0096_2

“The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

Don’t be afraid to mix it up and try different “styles” of running.  You might find something out there that captivates you and forces you to be an active runner rather than a passive one.


Workout Distance Variation

Changing what workouts you run will prevent getting stale, will help you boost your performance, and keep your mind and body engaged in the workout.

Example: Always running 4-5 x 800 at the same pace with the same recovery.

Make a change and try 1000s or mile repeats. Try them at 5k pace or half marathon pace. Adjust the recoveries to match the type of workout you are running.

Injury-free runners are the happiest

4 tips to staying injury-free and happy while running


Figure out what works for you by experimenting far away from peak races.  Don’t shy away from change because change is scary.  Be smart and go slow.  Make small changes at a time when you can focus on easy running, rather than in high or heavy mileage.TrainwithMarc.com (6)


Want similar articles on Smart Training? Check these out:

What pace is best for my intervals?

Incorporating speed work into a running plan

Having a plan for consistent running

Contacting Marc

Contacting Marc

Planning a Racing Season

Planning a Racing Season

Winter time is here.  I hate running in the winter.  I don’t enjoy being cold. Ever.  Luckily, planning a racing calendar is something that motivates me to get out the door when it’s really cold, windy and truthfully, I’d rather be doing anything besides running outside.

Planning a Racing Season

Planning a Racing Season

When I’m building a race calendar, a lot of factors go into my decision.  I often ask myself if the race is “worth” my time. Let’s break that down, as that phrase “worth it” is not intended to be elitist in any sense.

  • Is the race helping me reach a goal?
  • Does it fit into my life calendar?
  • Is the price fair for the race distance/experience I’ll have?

After thinking about those questions, I look at whether the pros outweigh the cons.  Even if a race passes the above tests, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll race it.  Then I ask myself these questions:

  • Am I in shape or out of shape?  
  • Do I feel like racing?
  • Do I need to race for motivation or for another reason?

As you can see, I don’t just race to race.  There are a lot of factors that go into deciding to race… Sometimes, I’ll go 4-5 months without racing.  Why? There isn’t a need to or a race that satisfies all of my above qualifications!

Ok, so let’s say I’ve chosen a racing calendar.  It has 4-5 races spread out throughout 3-4+ months.  I’ve adjusted my training to focus specifically on the goal race and I work backward.  What do I need to do in training to be at my best for the goal race?  I focus on just the goal race as the other races are less important.  They are crucial for me to do them, but not in the sense that I am looking to run a PR or a perfect race.  In these non-peak races, I’m purely looking to work on strategies such as pacing, nutrition, and getting rid of nerves.  That’s all they are there for!

Planning your next racing season

When to race & when to keep training


When to back off even if I have a scheduled race on the calendar.

Numerous times to “skip” (ie. NOT RACE) even though a race is on my calendar:

  • If an injury occurs during training
  • If I don’t feel recovered from training or a race
  • If my goal race has changed
  • If something in my non-running life has come up

So many reasons to NOT race… Be picky.  Be choosy.  Figure out what’s important to you and why you’re always racing.  Just know that you’re not going to get everything out of yourself if you race week in and week out over the course of 5 months.  There’s little time to train effectively when each weekend there is a race.  Good blocks of uninterrupted training will ultimately be the most rewarding and the best strategy to performing well in a select few race.

Reasons Not to Race

Reasons Not to Race


Interested in more that’s similar to this?

Distance runners should keep a training log

Having a race-day checklist 

Using a coach to guide your training

Setting goals for a racing season

 

Contacting Marc

Contacting Marc

Strength Training and Base Mileage

Over the last month, I’ve done more strength training than I had previously done in the last 6 months.  

True story.  

I tell my runners to keep up with their strength training (bodyweight exercises, ie: pushups, squats, lunges, etc, core and ab work, hip and mobility, etc, etc… Yet, hardly ever “found time” to do it myself.  There is a disconnect between my runner-self (doing strength work) and the coach (telling myself to do strength work).  I know how valuable it is for me to do it, yet couldn’t pull myself together to actually do it with any kind of regularity.  I choose an easy run over 20 minutes of strength.  Blah! That needs to change.

Base Mileage & Strength Training

Base Mileage & Strength Training

Strength training is something I’ve needed to incorporate into my weekly routine, but never really had any desires to figure out how and when I’d make it work.  Not only does strength work improve my running form, my running economy, and my overall ability to run faster, but it is also something I need to continue doing as I get into my mid-30’s.  

This lack of effort, or, better put, lack of stringing together days and weeks of strength training has recently changed.  I’ve been able to do my strength training with a group – and that has helped tremendously.  I get my 3-4 mile run in, then head indoors to work out with the kids I’m coaching.  

all-i-needed-was-some-accountability-and-a-reason-to-stay-consistentIt doesn’t matter one bit who I’m doing my strength with.  What matters is that I’m actually getting it done.  

Prone Stabilizer - Core Exercise # 2

Prone Stabilizer – Core Exercise # 2

As it stands now, it looks like all I needed was some accountability and a reason to stay consistent.  Maybe that’s all it takes for anything to get done?

Strength training and base mileage for distance runners

Strength training while adding base mileage for distance runners


Here are some of the routines I’ve done. If you do any, snap a pic and tag it with #TrainwithMarc.

UK Workout

8 Min Abs 

Shoe Workout

Deck of Cards Workout

Body Weight Strength Routine

Power & Explosive moves

Contacting Marc

Contacting Marc

Question about any of the exercises? Google is your best friend.

Keys to a Successful Long Run

The long run is considered one of the most important aspects of distance running training.  A long run has a similar intensity to an easy or moderate day of running with the main difference being time spent on your feet.  Long runs fit neatly into our training schedule and have numerous physiological, physical, and mental benefits that make this type of run one of the most important runs we do on a weekly basis.

Reasons for Doing Long Runs

The most important reason for a long run is to condition the muscles to delay the onset of fatigue.  By doing this, the body must learn to physiologically tap into and utilize energy reserves from fat storage sites after the glycogen (fuel stores in the muscles, converted over from carbohydrate food sources) have been depleted.  Through long run training, the capacity to store more glycogen within the muscles increases.  An increase in glycogen stores translates into the ability to maintain one’s pace during the marathon and delay the onset of fatigue.

Keys to a successful long run

Keys to a successful long run

Besides delaying the onset of fatigue, long runs also work on strengthening the heart (increasing stroke volume) and open the capillaries, both sending energy to working muscles and flushing waste products from fatigued muscles.  We can also see benefits physiologically in the increased number and size of mitochondria and increased myoglobin concentration in muscle fibers.

Finally, a distance runner should realize that not all long runs will be easy to complete.  Bad patches will arise, and when they do, the better one can persevere through these stretches will develop the necessary mental toughness needed for racing.


Benefits of Long Runs

As a distance runner, there are numerous benefits that we can gain from doing our long runs.  Most of these benefits are physiological benefits, such as cardiovascular adaptation, increased size and quantity of mitochondria, and increased use of fat as a fuel source.  While others, like mental toughness, experience, and added mileage are both mental and physical benefits.  Let’s go through each and see how they benefit us.

Cardiovascular adaptation: By running more miles, we strengthen our heart and improve its ability to get oxygen-rich blood to our working muscles. While this happens during all running, it especially happens during the long run.

Adaption of fast-twitch fibers: After roughly 90 minutes of continuous running, the slow twitch fibers that become depleted and our bodies switch to using fast twitch fibers. So in essence, long runs over 90 minutes also become a form of speed work.

LR fuel
via gpontherun.com

Increased size and quantity of mitochondria: Mitochondria are the powerhouse of cellular respiration – the ability to turn food into energy. Therefore, the bigger and more mitochondria we have, the better our engine will run.

Increased number of capillaries and capillary density: Bigger capillaries mean we can carry more oxygen to our working muscles. More capillaries equal more oxygen, which means you can run faster and longer in an aerobic state.

Increased glycogen storage: Muscle glycogen is the body’s primary source of fuel during exercise. Long runs teach your muscles to store more glycogen.

Increased use of fat as a fuel source: Although fat is a less efficient source of fuel, the more your muscles can use it early in a race, the less likely they are to become depleted of muscle glycogen.

Experience with long runs and glycogen depletion: You can gain a lot of experience from running for an extended period of time. The more you run log and to depletion, the more confident you’ll be that you can handle the discomfort in a race.


Ways to make a long run feel “easier”

• Hydrate before, during and after races.

• Eat a meal high in carbohydrates within an hour of finishing running.

• Do a dynamic warm-up of stretches and drills before your runs and a static stretching routine after your run.

• Massage or “put your legs up” after a race or long run.

• Wear compression gear to alleviate swelling.

• Consider running for time rather than distance. Going for time will enable you to be flexible and open-minded about your route.

IMG_1007

Carly and Marc having fun on a run

When you design your next training plan (or get a coach like Marc at TrainWithMarc to do that for you), remember the importance of the long run and be sure that you’re scheduling one every week to 10 days during your training cycle.

For details on how you can train, run, and race with TrainWithMarc, find us on the web:

TrainWithMarc
Facebook
Twitter