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”
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”
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”
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.
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.
So you’ve decided to take the next leap in training – you’ve been running for 2 years now and have seen a lot of improvement but you seem to have reached a plateau. You’ve been running 3-5 days a week but you are ready to up the ante and take on the challenge. You’ve decided to take the plunge but can you handle the mileage?
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.
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”
So you sleep in a few days and start to feel bad that you missed a run or two.
You then think that you have to catch up on the runs you have missed which leads to more pressure, more catch up, which leads to more missed runs and so on and so on…
The cycle continues.
However, you can break this cycle! Continue reading “So You Missed a Run, Stop Playing Catch 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!
So you had a bad day on the roads… or maybe you skipped the roads all together.
It’s one bad run.
This isn’t the end of the road. Continue reading “Your Training Won’t Be Ruined By One Bad Run”
Too many runners and training plans rely on the old standby ways of training; LSD (long slow distance runs), tempo runs and the occasional speed day.
The good news – this doesn’t have to the case! Continue reading “There Are More Ways To Train: A Story about CV Pace”
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?”
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
improved Vo2 max
improved running economy
usage of fat as fuel
development of slow and medium twitch muscle fibers
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.
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!
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.
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?
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
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.