Category Archives: coach

What are Strides?

Yesterday, a conversation took off on Twitter about what a “Stride” is and how it should be approached.  @SeanBrown said: Q: What, exactly, are strides? Coach: “Do 8 miles, moderate pace, finish with 4×15 sec strides.”  And I think there are as many approaches floating around as there are runners, so let me explain how I want my athletes to run strides, when they’re appropriate, and what they are for.  Thanks to Sean for bringing up the topic! How to Run Strides: … Continue reading

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3 Different Long Runs, 3 Different Reasons

No matter the race for which you are training, the long run is a key part of your weekly training.  If you’re planning to run your first 5k or your 50th marathon, the major goal of the long run is the same: To improve your endurance and make yourself better able to complete the race distance.  That’s a large task by itself, but as training becomes more advanced and you really want to “race” a long distance (we’ll focus on … Continue reading

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Runners and Superstitions: Do They Work?

In general, athletes are a very superstitious bunch, and runners are definitely not an exception.  We all have some silly idiosyncrasies that, for one reason or another, have become a part of our personal race ritual.  Some of the time, we actually start to believe in these rituals as a necessary factor for success.  So…are they? A lot of these behaviors became a part of our routine by chance.  Humans are remarkably good at identifying and then repeating patterns.  From an evolutionary … Continue reading

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How to Sequence Training Sessions for Maximum Benefit

Whether we are diligent about it or not, most runners know that there is a benefit to including multiple training modalities in a session.  For example, not just heading for a run and then sitting down, but including some drills, strength training, flexibility training, etc.  However, what remains a mystery to many is how to order those activities for the best training benefit.  Should strength work come before endurance work?  Should technique and drills work be at the beginning or … Continue reading

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Discomfort Now or Discomfort Later

When you’re training for something big, you’re constantly making a bargain with yourself.  Or, maybe “compromise” is a better way to phrase it.  You have to be willing to give something up to get something in return, be that a PR or a win or a new distance.  Think of it this way: You (today) and you (race day) meet in some inter-dimensional spacetime zone.  Today-you gives race-you a look and says, “Hey, you’re looking lean and fit.” Race-you says, … Continue reading

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Training Variability: Your Best BFF, Forever.

I have a bone to pick with lots of training programs out there.  They are way too consistent.  I’m not arguing with consistent training (i.e. getting out there day after day to put in quality work), but I am arguing with a consistent structure week after week.  A lot of the formulas are too repetitive, which I think short-changes the athlete.  When I’m asked to make an assessment of a training history and it looks something like… Tuesday tempo run … Continue reading

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On the Fly: Salvaging a Workout “Gone Wrong”

Quick rule of thumb:  If you have roughly equivalent numbers of workouts that go well and workouts that are a bust, then you’re doing pretty well.  Workouts are supposed to be challenging enough to force your body to adapt…that’s the only way to improve.  Remember, too, that like any other training day, a workout day is subject to a whole host of variables that can impact your performance.  What we all need is a playbook for how to salvage the … Continue reading

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What to Do When Everything Goes Wrong

If you think about any given day, being committed to training really isn’t that much of a commitment.  An hour this day, an hour that day, maybe a couple of hours on weekend days.  Manageable, and in the grand scheme of things, probably a very good time investment when you consider all the benefits outside of your running life that running provides.  But sometimes life just gets in the way of running for whatever reason, and the next thing you … Continue reading

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Do What You Do Well

I’m much better, admittedly, at the number-crunching side of coaching than I am at the inspirational platitudes.  So here’s my attempt at a general pep talk.  We’re already off to a good start: I’ve used one SAT vocabulary word.  Soooo….is this the part where I tell a joke?  No? OK, onward. When I was a young runner, I was convinced that I was a miler.  And I had some success by the standards of my immediate environment as such.  When … Continue reading

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The Base Phase: Starting a Training Cycle on the Right Path

Here’s a visual of how any good training cycle should be composed: See the bottom there?  A nice big base of aerobic fitness.  It’s kind of a big deal for a whole host of reasons: Improving your running economy Improving your cardiovascular endurance Building general strength Preparing your body for speedier workouts closer to race day There are a number of other good reasons, but I think we can all agree that having a lot of miles logged when it’s … Continue reading

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