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

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

How Many Miles Are Enough For Me?

What's the right mileage for you?

I want to stress that we are all individuals — in that vein there are no magic bullets, no quick fixes, no secret recipes to success. We all have a different training style that suits our body, personality and mental strength.

So a question I’m always asked is:

“How many miles are enough for me?”

 

What's the right mileage for you?

 

It’s a question that has been hotly debated for years! Should I train low mileage-high quality or high mileage-low quality?

To be honest the best answer is found somewhere in between.

In my mind the perfect training plan has you smartly increasing your mileage with a solid mix of high intensity and low intensity.

That’s why mileage is tricky…

Finding what works for you.

So how many miles should you run?

There are runners who are built to run 120 miles per week but there are also runners who can only handle 30 without coming up injured! Those 30 will need to be at a hard pace to make up for the lack of quantity but if done right those runners can still run incredible times.

In a perfect world where every runner is built the same and races happen in a vacuum. But it doesn’t…

I would argue that high mileage (done right) can lead to a bigger improvement than a more low mileage plan. This has to do with the improvements that only happen on a molecular level when you spend hour upon hours on your feet. (I would also argue that there is a mental toughness component that comes from taking yourself to the wall on your mileage training, but I will cover this in a later article.)

We all have a personal peak mileage and a personal peak race — it’s important to find out works best for you individually.

The Aerobic base

Authur Lydiard is the man who popularized building a big aerobic base before moving into more specific training. He coached a group of New Zealand runners, headed up by Peter Snell, that would go on to dominate the world stage. This is when a man by the name of Bill Bowerman brought Lydiard’s training philosophies back to the University of Oregon and the rest is history.

Think of the Lydiard system as a pyramid — the base of that pyramid being the amount of easy runs you put in. That base allows you build the rest of your pyramid, the bigger the base, the bigger the pyramid… hypothetically.

For years this “revolutionary” approach to distance running is how we coaches trained our athletes. Of course there was still a love for the old method that primarily relied on interval training multiples days a week… but the damage had been done and “periodized” training was here to stay.

In my own experience this can be modified a bit and if you’re more of a Jack Daniels (not that Jack Daniels) or Joe Vigil descendant like me than you would know that this philosophy isn’t the end all be all. I feel like the best set up for a training cycle is a steady diet of mileage, tempo runs, and mile pace work to build efficiency .

However, there is no denying that with just easy running alone and spending time on your feet then you will see a big benefit to your general aerobic system as well as:

increased bone density

increased capillary density

tendon development

improved Vo2 max

mitochondria recruitment

improved running economy

usage of fat as fuel

development of slow and medium twitch muscle fibers

mental clarity

mental strength

Mileage has it’s benefits but ultimately it comes down to what your body can handle. This depends a lot on your genetics but with the right amount of experience, trails and testing you can do a lot to optimize your performance.

Trial and error and research and obsess and learn and pass on to others…

So back to your question, “how many miles are enough for me?”

To be honest I don’t know — because I don’t know you, yet! However, I can tell you that more mileage is better than less and there’s no way of knowing until you get out there. With the right plan and progression you should be able to find your ideal mileage within a few weeks.

-Justin

If you have any questions or need help on your training journey, you can add me on snapchat, instagram or twitter — How can I help?

Not seeing results? Step your game up!

Okay, this post may be a little bit of a rant…

I’ve been working in gyms and with clients for around 15 years now. Needless to say, I’ve seen a ton of people working out and putting in efforts to change their bodies.

Kinda…

I say kinda because I think there is a difference between working out and putting in the effort.

Let me explain.

You can see this in certain types of people:

The people who leave the gym looking just as good as when they came.

The people who constantly complain about their workout or how hard it is.

The people who stop with 10 seconds left in their circuit and start drinking water.

The people who leave their water bottle at home so they have to walk to the water fountain every couple of minutes.

The people take 15 seconds to transition between every 30 second station of a workout.

If you identify with any of these, please read on 😛

I would say that all of those people are working out. They’re at the gym, they’re doing something and they can even take a selfie to put on Instagram and prove it. haha

However, I wouldn’t say that they are putting in the effort.

They’ve got step 1 down and show up, which is important, but they’re lacking on step 2. Step 2 is putting in the effort to make it worth it.

To show up at the gym and just go through the motions isn’t going to get you results. I see too many of these people first complaining about their workout and then complain about their lack of results.

Unless you’re a body builder; if you rest for most of your workout, don’t own a water bottle or suffer your way through every workout then I have very simple advice for you:

Stay home!!

Seriously, you’ll enjoy life much more and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying life. Just don’t complain about your lack of fitness or that you have a body you don’t desire.

However, if you don’t like that advice then you might be ready for the tough love asvice:

It’s time to step your game up!

Stop complaining, suck it up, bring a water bottle and finish your workout as strong as possible. Just like you always get the last few drops put of your wine bottle, empty your own tank in every workout.

If you’re gonna do it, do it! If you show up, give it 100% and be proud of your efforts.

So if you’re not seeing the results you want, it’s time to step up your game.

If you feel you are giving it your 100% every time and you’re still not seeing results, message me because you’re in a whole different category! (this article doesn’t apply to you)

Chad

All About Proprioceptors And How They Can Benefit Your Running

All About Proprioceptors

Our bodies are awesome!

Think about it!

We have sensory nerves throughout our body that send feedback to our brains about where we are in space.

These sensory nerves, called proprioceptors, tell our brain about the terrain we’re running on, as we’re running, and our body makes the appropriate adjustments.

If you want to learn more about proprioceptors and see how you can better implement them into your training – check out my latest 5 Minute Barrier;

Thanks for hanging out friends!

If you want to follow along on my journey follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Anchor!

-Justin

Beating The Marathon Taper: PR When It Counts

Marathon Taper Madness

The Marathon Taper — or as I like to call it Taper Madness — is a tricky concept to understand.

Complicated by symptoms of: feeling antsy, restlessness, having an overall energy surplus, being fixated on your race, day dreams about heartbreak hill, and just a general anxiety about training — ok a few of those may just be me.

It is not made any easier by the fact that not everyone will respond the same way to a traditional taper. A traditional marathon taper being cut back on the mileage starting a few weeks out from the race and then a few short and quick workouts marathon pace workouts to keep your legs fresh and race ready.

This brings me to this weeks 5 Minute Barrier; I’ll give you a few tools to beat Taper Madness and recognize if a traditional taper is right for you.

Thanks for watching and don’t forget to thumbs up that video and give me a follow on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat if you liked this info and want more!

Justin

Yoga For Runners – The Perfect 1-2 Punch

Yoga Can Do Wonders For Runners

If you know me, you would know that I am not the most flexible person in the world — like less flexible than this computer I am typing on — but that doesn’t mean I shy away from anything that involves flexibility.

This hasn’t always been the case though.

In college there was a time when instead of an easy day we opted for a team yoga session, you know active recovery, taking an actual easy day and working on flexibility.

I wasn’t having any of it, I had a strict mileage plan and if I couldn’t fit those miles in during practice… when was I going to get them in? I had a bad attitude about change, I needed those miles! It was tough but I didn’t make it any easier on myself and coupled with thoughts like;

“I’m just naturally inflexible”

“I stretch everyday, what do I need Yoga for?”

and the kicker, “How is skipping an easy run going to make me better?”

Thoughts of a stressed out collegiate runner… Continue reading “Yoga For Runners – The Perfect 1-2 Punch”

Am I Hurt Or Am I Just Sore? Part 1 DOMS & Inflammation

Am I Hurt Or Am I Just Sore

Am I hurt or am I just sore?

This is a common question you might ask yourself, especially the day after a hard workout or starting something new.

I used to be really bad at answering this question, which says a lot about my background and how far my knowledge has come since I was a 5’2″ high school freshman.

I was having a conversation with a friend about this the other day and we decided that it all came down to the old school mentality our coach
instilled.

Sure we were tough and had a “nose down” type of attitude, but this led to the idea that being sore was some kind of weakness. We ran through a lot of warning signs because… that’s just what we did. A mix of not knowing any better and wanting to be the runner with the most grit, but inevitably the injury team could have fielded a Varsity and Junior Varsity squad by the time conference rolled around.

* For the sake of clarity to anyone who didn’t run in high school, the “top 7” runners on the team were the Varsity squad and the next 7 were considered Junior Varsity, we had a small team – ok back to the post

You do need to be able to recognize that soreness is ok! but only within a certain context…

So what are these so called ‘warning signs’?

You can expect soreness after a good, hard workout or after a mileage increase, and that’s fine but be cognizant about where you feel it!
This comes down to DOMS!

DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, is caused by micro-tears in the muscle. These tears are necessary for building muscle/building better endurance in the muscle. All good things!

However, inflammation is an unnecessary byproduct of this process. Inflammation, essentially your muscles’ response to training*, can cause excess tightness throughout your body and can really impact the flexibility of your muscles and joints during this period.

*A more technical definition dealing with inflammation – biochemical processes release proteins called cytokines as “emergency signals” that bring in your body’s immune cells, hormones and nutrients to fix the problem

So if we think of DOMS as a 48 hour window; any pain past that is a cause for concern. I usually follow this protocol with my athletes:

*Soreness up to 48 hours after: probably not serious unless it is near the joint or throwing off running form – monitor the situation and be sure to take care of yourself! Follow The Art Of Foam Rolling!

If it’s over 48 hours and there is still muscle pain, then it is probably time for a cross training day. I would recommend staying active in your recovery to help speed up the process, however if you’re legs are dead…

There is nothing wrong with an off day or two!

If there is still pain after the next 3 days (the 5th day post initial soreness) of taking time off or cross training — call this the next 72 hour rule — then it is time to go see a chiropractor or physio or sports doctor, at this point there is something wrong and the sooner you find the problem, the sooner you can start rehabbing!

So let’s look at a few scenarios –

INJURY TIMETABLE 1: First workout in spikes
Day 1 – Calf soreness/tightness but overall run goes fine
Day 2 – Calf is extremely sore, achilles tendon feels swollen and running is throwing off your gait – take a cross training day today
Day 3 – Feels a bit better but you still bike for the day
Day 4 – Calf still feels tight but after biking, a light jog and foam rolling you feel a lot better
Day 5 – Back to running!!

INJURY TIMETABLE 2: First big increase in mileage
Day 1 – You don’t really notice it but your legs are overall sore from the mileage so you take a super easy day
Day 2 – Your legs feel better but now you feel the soreness in your shin area, painful to the touch – take a cross training day tomorrow
Day 3 – Running is out of the question today, your shins are hurting when you walk
Day 4 – You don’t feel any better today and even biking is causing your shins to ache!
Day 5 – You feel just as bad as you did yesterday (you spent 3 days cross training and it doesn’t seem to be hurting)
Day 6 – It could be a stress fracture or it could be really bad shin splints, so think about going to see a chiropractor or physical therapist or someone in that field as it could be a muscular problem that can be worked out.

As with anything, listen to what your body is telling you! Do not be stubborn and think,”I’ll just run through it” because that mentality will put you on the shelf for a long time.

Thanks for reading friends,
As Always please follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
Coming up in part 2: Rehab and Prehab!

Justin

Knowing What To Do – The Straightest Road To Success

Straightest Road to Success

Last week I wrote an article about knowing what to do, and how much people waste time trying to get information on a very micro level. They’re searching for the straightest road to success.

They’re constantly in search for that one thing that’s going to make all the difference when in reality there’s a lot of things that factor into getting results.

As an online fitness coach and I’ve worked with hundreds of people on their health and fitness goals. I, like many others in my field, would like to say that I know what I’m doing and that I have the answer.

However, this comes with a grain of salt. I don’t always have THE answer first try, but I do have many ways to find the answer.

Let me explain:

Like my last article, when we are searching for micro level answers like “the best exercise” or “the best food” for some specific outcome, we have a very limited vision. We are only focused on one thing and we want one answer. We are trying to find the straight road to success. The linear path.

Sadly, there are plenty of people in my industry that are offering their program as THE answer and THE path.

This is probably because what they’re selling worked for them. They found an exercise, food, routine, habit, schedule, etc that works for them.

And in truth it does or did work!

…for them.

They found a path. One.

 

The question is whether or not that path will work for you.

 

So, when I say I know what I’m doing, and even if I say I have the answers, what I actually mean is that I have a really good idea of what I’m doing. It’s a very well educated guess that comes from years of experience and hundreds of clients testing different methods. Testing different paths.

I like to think of it like a nature guide, mechanic or computer repairman.

You hire a nature guide because they know where to go. They know the path and they’ve traveled it before. However, in nature unexpected things happen. There’s avalanches, floods, fires, rockslides and wild animals. The real value in the guide isn’t that they know the one path to get you where you want to go, it’s that they know many paths and can navigate the obstacles that come up.

The mechanics and computer repair men are similar in that they have a deep understanding of how their products work. If it’s not working, they are ready to navigate the obstacles. They have the skills to troubleshoot by looking at many different aspects and finding the area the needs to be addressed.

All of these people know how to do this because of years of experience, study and trial and error.

NONE of them know the perfect answer when they start.

They will probably be close, but what’s most important is from there they have many options and paths.

They will use education, trial and error, and experience to reach their goals.

They will navigate the obstacles and find the straightest road to success.

The great thing is you too have the ability to use trial and error to find your path. You can jump into the wild and figure it out. It will have many setback and struggles, but if you keep pushing you’ll find a way.

The key is that whether it’s on your own, or with support and guidance, there is always a way to reach your goal. However, it won’t be straight and it there’s no one or perfect answer. It will take trial and error.

 

Straightest Road to Success

 

My conclusion is very similar to last week:

 

Don’t waste time trying to find the perfect answer or one path, it doesn’t exist.

No one thing is going to work for everyone. And even if it does work for you, it usually won’t keep working forever.

There is no straight road to success, but an experienced coach will help you find the straightest.

~ Chad