Running Through It: Kellyn Taylor’s Breakthrough Marathon

I talk about NAZ Elite runner Kellyn Taylor’s recent Breakthrough at Grandma’s marathon on this week’s episode of my Podcast, Running Through It. She dropped 4 minutes off her marathon PR and 2 minutes off the course record. Kellyn’s Coach, Ben Rosario, is a friend of mine and one of my primary coaching mentors; so I asked him about Kellyn’s training. Continue reading “Running Through It: Kellyn Taylor’s Breakthrough Marathon”

Summer Running: Where The Pace Doesn’t Matter And The Effort Is King

Summer Running

Summer Running can be tough, it can be harsh and it will be unforgiving.

Growing up in St. Louis, and now living in Kansas City, you learn to cope with the ridiculous humidity that comes from living in a midwest river town. Running was always done in the morning and if you slept in, you were better off waiting until sundown to fit your miles in – we’re talking over 80% humidity in St. Louis most days.

Summer Running

Continue reading “Summer Running: Where The Pace Doesn’t Matter And The Effort Is King”

Learning From Lebron – “Be Better Tomorrow”

LeBron James

I’ve grown to really admire LeBron James over the years, but what happened this past Friday night after a heartbreaking game 1 loss really cemented him as the leader we should see in ourselves.

JR Smith had just made one of the biggest mental lapses in the history of the NBA Finals, making a crucial rebound and then running out the clock instead of passing it to a wide open LeBron in a tied game with 4 seconds still on the clock. LeBron, after being relentlessly questioned by the media about Smith’s play just stood up and said, “be better tomorrow”.  Continue reading “Learning From Lebron – “Be Better Tomorrow””

What Is Mobility?

Mobility over flexibility, I’ve had that simple motto for a while now,  meaning as runners we need to focus on our overall mobility in the running range of motion over general flexibility… but what is mobility?

Mobility – The ability to move freely and easily

Essentially mobility is everything to running. Your ability to move freely in the running plane of motion is incredibly important and this mobility can be hindered by:

Tight muscles

Lack of local flexibility

General form issues (side to side movement)

Hip flexibility (ability to drive your knee upwards)

Upper Body

Flexibity, “your legs follow your arms”

Torsion of your torso (think twisting side to side)

Simple right?

So let me explain “mobility over flexibility”

Is flexibility important? Absolutely, but flexibility for the sake of flexibility isn’t optimizing your time. Static stretching will make you flexible but your dynamic flexibility hasn’t changed much. So working on flexibility using dynamic poses is far more successful, reaching down to touch your toes isn’t exactly a running specific motion right? Therefore, mobility is localized flexibility in relation to your running form, you need flexible hips and glutes because those muscle groups are directly responsible for knee lift and drive.

Chad and I have talked about this before but how you work on your mobility is extremely individualized. We all have our own tight muscle groups and past injury history. A good mobility plan will take that into effect and use it in reference to your running form.

Take a look at my video below where I take you through an initial running form consultation and show you what I look at when I look at mobility in general.

 

Here are the 3 methods of increasing your mobility, and then you will individualize within these methods:

Running Form Drills (as demonstrated in the video above)

Mobility exercises (these were popularized by Kelly Starrett and are hyper-focused on individual muscle groups)

Myo-fascial release (foam rolling and other methods to release muscle tension and allow the muscle to function properly)

I hope you could learn something from that but if you have questions go ahead and ask them in the comments of this article and I would love to answer them.

You can also reach out to me on Instagram and Twitter or maybe I answered your question on a recent episode of my podcast Running Through It.

Happy Running,

Justin

Running with Anxiety

Running with Anxiety has been a monster I’ve had to deal with my whole life… While sometimes I was unaware of what to call this monster it has always affected my running and, more importantly, my life in a huge way.

It has affected me for the better recently but as I have talked about in the past I didn’t always know how to ask for help, and I didn’t always understand what was happening to me. Continue reading “Running with Anxiety”

Running Through It: Marathon Recovery Plan

Post-Marathon Recovery Plan

A Post Marathon recovery plan can be tricky, how do you get started on your next training plan? How do you make sure you are fully recovered?

As with all things the perfect plan is very individualized, some runners need more time off and need their recovery to be monitored to make sure they are completely recovered going into the next training cycle while other runners need to be coerced into taking time off because they feel fresh after a couple of days.

It is important to consider mental recovery in this case though, as my college coach used to tell us,

“You either take a break voluntarily or your body will decide for you”.

You may not feel exhausted… but the toll of all of those long runs and hard efforts will take its toll eventually. It can be very tempting (especially after a pr race) to just fire through from one marathon to the next and you might even get away with it for a little while.

However, eventually, this will catch up with you, Continue reading “Running Through It: Marathon Recovery Plan”

Why I Don’t Do Static Stretching

Static Stretching

Static stretching has long been abandoned as a pre workout warmup but should we also abandon it post workout? There is a lot of evidence that supports the idea that we should!

Now when I say static stretching I am referring to exercises such as bending over and touching your toes where you aren’t moving or exploring range of motion. We often go through these stretches with no real purpose and no real minfulness for the task at hand. Static stretching will increase your flexibility sometimes but it is not the most efficient in increasing your range of motion or teaching your body efficiency in the running motion.

Mobility exercises like the ones I have talked about in previous posts, often involve exploring the running range of motion such as the couch pose pictured below.

Static Stretching

There are also dynamic stretches that explore your sport specific range of motion – think of a dynamic warm up! You have leg swings, hip flexor pulses, fire hydrants and many other variations that work on activating the muscle as well as increasing mobility. I’m a big fan of working in the running specific range of motion and doing everything you can to improve your overall efficiency.

Then there’s yoga as well which takes all of these elements and incorporates core strength and breathing – I love yoga because it forces you to think about what you’re doing while you breathe and while you move. It’s not about sitting in a stretch and lengthening that muscle it’s about building strength in motion and building range of flexibility in all three planes of motion.

Is static stretching going to hurt you? Not necessarily but there is some evidence that excess stretching can lengthen the muscles too quickly. The point of this post is that there are a lot better ways to get more bang for your buck when talking about injury prevention and increasing your range of motion.

I will continue this idea in later posts but for now if you have any questions you can always reach out to me on Twitter, Instagram or drop by my Anthrophysique page.

Happy Running,

– Justin

2 Years Later – A Running Coach’s Retrospective

February 6th marked my 2 year anniversary coaching (coachiversary if you will) with Anthrophysique.

It has been a crazy journey from college coach trying to figure out his options to online running coach with a clear plan for the future. I have learned a lot, from my first series of blogs to my first full time athletes, I’ve worked hard and didn’t necessarily see the results right away but you have to stick with it and keep grinding – Running and life often require the same principles.

Online Running Coach

 

The main principle being hard work, and what it means to actually work hard – it’s a subjective idea! Your ideas of hard work may seem like a breeze to someone else and vice versa. When I started my coaching I thought I was working hard but there is such thing as being busy for the sake of being busy, it’s the same idea in running – at a certain point you have to take that jump in effort to see more results. Continue reading “2 Years Later – A Running Coach’s Retrospective”

Having Confidence in your Training Plan

I think it’s safe to say that confidence is a good thing, especially when you truly believe in your training plan… but what happens when you lose faith in your training or… you are too cocky about your fitness.

I’ve seen both situations – as well as runners who have failed from not realizing, or succeeded from checking their mentality.

Like anything in running there is a tendency to be hypercritical on every aspect of how you feel during a run. Running is more of a mental sport than we realize and those mentality shifts can happen without us realizing if we aren’t taking stock in our running or if we aren’t realizing that bad days happen. It’s the biggest thing I harp on with my athletes, how are you feeling? Is it mental or physical?

You can’t get too hung up on the minutia of a training plan… I mean you can but it really isn’t necessary until you’ve explored all other options..

What do I mean by minutia?

Think running 8:20 pace instead of running 8:50 pace – only when you’ve explored all other options should you be worried about easy pace and how it is making you feel. I’ve gone into easy pace and running by feel before so I’m not going to get into it here but my point is that your confidence shouldn’t come from easy run pace until you’ve explored all of the other variables. Minutia simply refers to being caught in the weeds… i.e. not seeing the bigger picture.

Confidence in your training is the greatest performance enhancer, go to any cross country meet in the nation and observe the runners on the line. I guarantee you that the top teams will have a certain swagger about them; they know they are ready and they are confidence that they will race well however they aren’t cocky to the point they aren’t ignoring the race plan.

Confidence in your Training Plan

 

You need that swagger! it isn’t saved for high school kids anymore. I give you permission to be wholly confident in your training, believe that what’s on paper will take you to the finish line! It’s ok to question things along the way but be sure that the right solution will be found and your body will react in the best way possible… It’s a confidence game after-all.

– Justin

Road Racing Is About Patience… Not Every Race Will Be Your Best

Road Racing

Road Racing is addictive – I get it, there is a reason why road races around the country made over $100,000,000 in total revenue last year.

We love racing but sometimes that comes without the proper buildup; maybe your friend talked you into it or you chose to run two marathons back to back… chances are you are not 100% prepared to run your best.

I’ve made that mistake at times – we used to think that the best way to train was to race yourself into shape but now we know that you have a finite number of hard efforts in a training cycle, be it mentally or physically… something has to give.

Success in road racing is about patience.

Sometimes racing too much can be detrimental to your confidence if you aren’t ready to roll – but racing can also be a good benchmark for your current training. Racing is a two way street and as a runner you must have perspective and you must have patience – there is a lot of experience that goes into knowing if it is a good time to race. That is where a good coach can be invaluable – knowing when you need a race to test fitness and knowing when it will kill your confidence or wear you down.

I tackled this very issue in one of my A Day In The Life videos:

 

– Justin

To keep up on what I’m doing – follow me on Instagram and Twitter

Step out of your Comfort Zone and run a PR

The worst thing you can do for yourself is be comfortable…

Ok ok hear me out for a second!

The best work is done when you venture out of your comfort zone. I feel it too – I suffer from that fear of getting uncomfortable.

“We’re involved in racing because there’s that element of competition. But there’s that desire to push yourself beyond the natural comfort zone and the boundaries that are preset if you like, and to be better than the rest.” – Allan Mcnish

Then you’re struck with negative self talk, “what if I try and fail, what if everyone laughs at me, what if I have nothing to offer”.

Instead of fighting against that negative self talk, it’s so much easier to sit back and stay comfortable with where you are.

Think of this in a running context, Continue reading “Step out of your Comfort Zone and run a PR”

The Lifestyle of Running, It’s Not Just Logging Miles

Running plans are everywhere these days, however, just because you have a plan doesn’t mean you will stick to it… or even see results.

The truth is, being fit is about more than just running. Sure running receives the glory – but it’s what you do away from the roads that make the biggest impact.

The biggest gains in fitness come from how much you sleep, what you eat, how you hydrate, how you relax – that’s how you optimize your training.

You have to live the lifestyle of a runner!

Something I would preach as a college coach, “You don’t PR off of 5 hours a night”.

Check out my latest A Day In The Life Video for a little more insight.

 

~ Justin

To keep up on what I’m doing – follow me on Instagram and Twitter

Let’s Talk About The Warm Up; Are You Doing It Right?

typical pre run warm up

What’s a typical pre-run warm up routine for you?

For the longest time I would just walk out the door, do some leg swings – if that – and go on my way.

That was the routine!

However I know better now; the point of this pre run dynamic routine is to thoroughly warm up your running muscles and be ready to get into your run. So instead of taking 5 minutes to find yourself during the run you can warm up more efficiently and save yourself the pain of potential injury.

The more you warm up your hips, glutes and hamstrings the less stress you are putting on a cold muscle during the run.

You are essentially activating that muscle to fire properly so that your stride will benefit!

Check out the video below for a sample of my “A Day In The Life Video” series I’ve been working on. If you want, you can jump ahead to the 3:44 mark where I go through my warm up, touching on my glutes, hips, hamstrings and quads – to make sure that I am ready to go when I hit the road.

 

 

If you watched the whole thing, I hope you enjoyed the video!

Now let’s talk. Comment below about your warm up routine, or lack of and I’d love to see if I can help!

Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Instagram and Twitter if you have any other run-related questions.

Justin