Coaching Articles Training

The Effects of High-Altitude Training on Running Performance

You’ve probably heard of pro runners heading to high-altitude training camps for several weeks, sleeping in “altitude tents” at night, or even installing a whole-house altitude simulation system to get an extra... 

The 2 Simple Reasons Your Easy Days are Ruining Your Training

One of the simplest concepts of successful long distance running also seems to be one of the hardest for many runners to grasp. Running easy helps you race faster! If you are invested in your running, it is important to run with... 

Can Altitude Masks Really Replicate Altitude Training?

Wouldn’t it be great to get the benefits of living and training at altitude without having to uproot your entire life? One way to do that is with an altitude tent, which uses compressed nitrogen gas to thin the oxygen in... 

The Importance of Setting the Right Race Time Goal (and How to Find Yours)

You’ve picked out the race, booked your hotel, and confirmed your flights. Everything is ready to go for your next big race. Now it’s time to set a time goal so you can get training! If you’re like most runners I coach,... 

The 5 Recovery Mistakes You’re Making That Are Hampering Your Recovery From Hard Workouts

Recovery is one of the most important elements of training. In fact, I’d argue it’s even more important than the hard workouts you do. Without recovery, training is just wasted time with no opportunity to actually improve.... 

How to Get the Benefits of Altitude Training (Without Going to Altitude)

If you follow elite running news, you’re sure to hear plenty about the high-altitude training camps around the world that are frequented by top runners between races. Places like Flagstaff, Arizona, St. Moritz, Switzerland,... 

3 Simple Ways to Take the Pressure Off Your Next “Big Race”

Goal races at the end of a training segment define a certain timeline for many runners. Marathoners often spend months on a proper training build-up towards race day and become mentally and emotionally invested in the outcome... 

How Body Weight and Sweat Rate Impact Your Ability to Run in the Heat

Heat regulation during exercise is a very relevant topic this time of year. In previous articles, we’ve looked broadly at thermoregulation—the five-dollar word for how your body handles heat production—during exercise,... 

How Do You Pace the Ultramarathon?

Track fans had their eyes fixed on Sacramento in July for the USATF outdoor track championships, but that wasn’t the only championship event in the running world. That weekend also played host to the Western States Endurance... 

Why You’re More Likely to Get Heat Stroke During a Shorter Race Than a Marathon

It’s approaching summertime again, which for most people means beautiful, sunny days to enjoy the warm weather. For runners, it means getting ready for hot-weather running. Most people already know that running a given pace... 

How Important is VO2 Max? What Does Yours Acually Mean?

It’s hard to get too far into reading about training without encountering the phrase “VO2 max” or hearing about “VO2 max testing.” When VO2 max tests were largely the domain of academic studies, the... 

The Benefits of Plyometric Exercises for Runners
Matt Philips

The term ‘plyometric’ is commonly used to describe any explosive, jumping exercise (e.g. squat jumps, skaters, clapping press ups, etc.). Though a popular addition to boot camp style circuit training, plyometric exercises... 

Are You Doing the Wrong Calf and Achilles Exercises? How and Why to Strengthen Your Calves and Achilles Properly to Prevent Injury
Building a Better Runner Part III - The Lower Body_page5_image6

In our previous two articles in the Building a Better Runner series, I outlined why traditional ab workouts won’t prevent injury and how the hips, hamstrings and glutes work together to generate power from your running stride. In... 

Why the Hips, Hamstrings and Glutes are the Keys to Running Faster
drive back 1

In last week’s article on building a better runner, we talked about the importance of the core (hips, transverse abdominis, lower back) in preventing running injuries. Hopefully, you started incorporating some of the suggested... 

Do You Get Better at the Ultra Marathon Distance as You Get Older?

Conquering the marathon is a big accomplishment. Even though the number of people completing a marathon every year is at an all-time high, a 26-mile race is no easy task.  And yet despite that, some runners finish the marathon... 

Why the FIRST ‘Run Less, Run Faster’ Method Doesn’t Work

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ll know that I don’t have a “one-size-fits-all” approach to training. I believe each runner is an experiment of one and proper training needs to take each individual’s strengths,... 

3 Race Day Quirks You Must Prepare for in the Final Weeks of Boston Marathon Training

The journey from Hopkinton to Copley is one of the most famous treks in marathon racing. Many a runner has spent a career chasing their Boston qualifying time and, thanks to Boston, moving up an age bracket is perhaps the only... 

4 Simple Tweaks You Can Make to Your Training That Will Make You a Better Runner Immediately
top-5-hip-exercises-for-run

What is one thing you can do to be a better runner today? For those of you like me who eat, breathe and sleep running, it’s easy, and a lot of fun, to get caught up reading about the latest training theories, race-specific workouts,... 

What is a Tempo Run: Understanding the 3 Types of Thresholds and How to Target Them in Your Training

One thing that many runners learn the hard way is that long distance running is not a sport of instant gratification. Running as fast as you can for as long as you can every day rarely leads to personal bests and instead leads... 

How Do Easy Runs Help You Race Faster (and what exactly your easy pace should be)
5k and 10k specific training

A common question, and one of the more difficult concepts of training to comprehend, is “how do easy runs help me race faster”. As an example, if you want to run a marathon at 9 minutes-per-mile, how does running five to eight... 

5k and 10k Specific Training
5k and 10k specific training

Despite being “short” from a distance runner’s standpoint, the 5k and 10k are difficult race distances to master. The 5k requires you to run at close to maximum effort for 3.1 miles, which usually results in redlining only... 

How to Stay Fit While Taking a Break from Running

Unless running is your one-and-only passion, it’s likely that you’ll want to take an occasional break from the monotony of putting one foot in front of the other. Heck, even if you’re completely dedicated to running... 

3 World Class Runners and Coaches Share Their 6 Secrets to Success
pete

Getting fit and fast is what most runners aim for and one thing that can really help is gleaning advice from those who are fitter and faster. If your goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon, why not discuss what training and... 

How to Warm Up for a Marathon
how to warm up for a marathon

Most runners understand the value of warming up before a race. A warm-up primes your muscles for peak performance by increasing your core body temperature, which speeds oxygen throughout the body, loosens your legs, and triggers... 

The 4 Lessons My Coach Tried to Teach Me (But I just Wouldn’t Listen)

A few weeks ago I was invited back to college to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of our cross country team’s first ever Ivy League Championship. It was awesome to reconnect with old teammates and reminisce about our college... 

Can Form Drills Help You Become a More Efficient and Injury-Resistant Runner
a-march-1

Unlike most sports, running, at its core, is pretty simple. You don’t need to study any rules before you can start and it doesn’t involve complicated skills like learning how to swing a bat, ice skate or throw a ball. However,... 

4 Key Workouts to Prepare for the Boston Marathon Course
boston marathon course workouts

The journey from Hopkinton to Copley is one of the most famous treks in marathon racing. While some runners prefer to approach the actual race as a well-earned celebratory run, many runners relish in the opportunity to challenge... 

5 Common Myths About Strength Training for Distance Runners
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Despite the advancements in our understanding of the role strength training plays in our development as long distance runners, there are still some pervasive myths in the running community about the best way to approach improving... 

7 Strategies to Help You Develop Mental Toughness During Races

As runners, we’re always looking for that extra edge in training to make us faster and more consistent on the race course. Understandably, most of our efforts to improve are geared towards the physical – lowering lactate... 

Does Running Shoe Technology Really Work as Advertisements Claim

Running shoe advertisements are full of claims about all the technology in the latest shoes. As an example, open up any running magazine or go to any running website and you’ll see advertisements about shoes with high-tech... 

Why Fatigue is a Necessary Part of Training and How to Manage It

Training is like trying to walk a tight rope. You need to balance putting in grueling workouts and mileage with the ability to let your body recover. Favor one aspect too heavily and you’ll either have a poor performance from... 

How Your Running Form Changes During Long Runs and Easy Runs

Last week we looked at how hard anaerobic running (short races and speed workouts) can result in fatigue-related changes in running form.  But the tired feeling you get after an interval workout or a 5k race isn’t the only... 

Finding Your Optimal Mileage and Number of Days per Week to Run

Some questions don’t have simple answers. As an example, the best answer to most training-related questions is, “it depends”. What’s your training background, injury history, goal race, training environment, current health?... 

Why you’re suffering from muscle cramps during a marathon (and it’s not because of dehydration)

Why do marathon cramps happen, even after running countless training miles, marathon-specific long runs, and paying special attention to your fueling and hydration needs? In this video lesson, which is taken from our 3-part free... 

Don’t Shun the Run/Walk Method: How Experienced and Beginners Alike Can Ultilize the Run/Walk for Smarter Training

There is often a stigma attached to runners who utilize a run/walk method in their training. Many new runners don’t feel that “real runners” respect them if they aren’t running the entire distance, while experienced runners... 

3 Common Misconceptions About the Role of Minamilist Shoes in Improving Running Form

It’s a natural tendency in our society to try and simplify complex training ideas and topics into one-size-fits-all recommendations. Even the most knowledgeable of athletes can’t resist headlines that claim to have found the... 

How to Warm-up for a Race: An In-depth Look at the Routine of an Elite Runner
leg-swings

There are many different philosophies on warming up before a workout or race that on a starting line, you could look around to the thousands of runners in front of and behind you and not a single one of them went through the exact... 

Running in Cold Weather – Avoiding Hypothermia and Staying Safe

As winter closes in on runners in many areas of the country, it is worth taking a look at how to manage training in cold temperatures.  In some ways, cold weather is not as restricting as hot weather: you can always put more... 

Reduce Pre-Race Nerves by Putting Your Race in Perspective

Early this year I had the chance to attend the Ivy League track championships as a spectator. It had been a while since I last watched (or competed) a “Heps” championship, but the atmosphere was still as electric as I remembered. As... 

How to Breakthrough Plateaus Using the Theory of Supercompensation Training

If you’ve ever read the classic running novel, Once a Runner, you’ve probably dreamed about ditching work and all responsibilities to rent a cabin in the woods to do nothing but run, sleep, eat and focus solely on training... 

3 Lessons Learned from Ryan Hall’s Withdrawal from the New York City Marathon

In case you haven’t heard, one of America’s premier talents in the marathon, Ryan Hall, has withdrawn from the 2013 NYC Marathon. Unfortunately for Hall, this is the third consecutive major marathon he’s pulled out of, and... 

The Benefits of Hill Sprints for Novice Distance Runners
RC19_gradients-resized

For those relatively new to regular running, the notion of introducing maximal effort hill sprints is often met with concern over the possibility of overtraining and encouraging injury. And yet, including one or two weekly hill... 

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About a Bad Night of Sleep the Night Before a Race

It was my first conference championship in cross country, arguably the most important team event in college running, and I was a nervous wreck. As a freshman, I was being counted on for a great run. I had never experienced pressure... 

Marathon Training “Burnout”: Causes and Remedies

For many runners, the marathon is the summit of the racing mountain, the ultimate goal worth putting in all those miles for.  Nothing equals the satisfaction of being able to slap that “26.2” sticker on your car and introduce... 

How to Run High Mileage: The Secret to 140 Mile Weeks

What was the secret, they wanted to know; in a thousand different ways they wanted to know The Secret. And not one of them was prepared, truly prepared to believe that it had not so much to do with chemicals and zippy mental tricks... 

What to do if the Marine Corps Marathon Gets Cancelled

This summer a reporter from RunnersWorld called and asked to do a story on advice for what to do when your goal marathon gets cancelled. After everything that happened surrounding the NYC Marathon in 2012, it would have been a... 

How Long Should You Wait Before Running Another Marathon

You’ve just finished your goal marathon and, if you felt anything like I do in the last 10k of a marathon, you swore off running another one as soon as you wrapped yourself in the Mylar blanket! However, the memories of that... 

Do Customized or Advanced Insoles Really Work?
running injuries and pronation

Anyone who has recently bought a new pair of running trainers may well have found themselves being recommended some ‘superior’ insoles to replace those that come with the trainers. In one major running store chain, the footwear... 

Learn How Muscle Fibers Work to Better Target Your Training

Understanding the why of training and the science behind your workouts is important, even if you’re not writing your own training. First, with the multitude of training plans and books available it allows you to distinguish... 

Can You Train Your Lungs and Breathing Muscles to Get Stronger and Will this Actually Help You Run Faster

It’s hard to imagine something as fundamental to running as breathing.  You really can’t go without it! But as simple as breathing is, there are still a lot of questions about how it actually affects your running. Can... 

Marathon Training and Weight Gain

A couple of weeks ago I published a piece on the 5 most common marathon training mistakes. One of the discussed potential mistakes, not increasing nutritional intake, garnered a lot of questions and concern. Specifically, many... 

The Pregnant Runner: How to Excel When You’re Expecting
weeks of gestation

It seems that no matter what the issue, when it comes to pregnancy, there are two sides to every coin. Some women try to gain as little weight as possible while others encourage the pounds; some women involve the entire family... 

How to Train for a Relay Race
how to train for a relay race

Relay races are fast becoming one of the most popular running events in the United States. In 2012, the Ragnar Relay, one of the more popular relay-style events, had 72,000 participants. Hood to Coast had 20,000 runners and Reach... 

3 Common Myths About Warming Up Before a Run (and How to Make it Work for You)
RC16_LungeMatrix_FULL-resized

Only five months have passed since I last wrote an article about the importance of a dynamic, pre-run warm-up; indeed sometimes I worry that I must sound like an annoying megaphone constantly pressed against the ear of clients... 

Why Following a Pace Group Could Ruin Your Chances of a PR

Are you worried about how to properly pace your upcoming marathon or half marathon? So aren’t thousands of runners who will be toeing the line next to you on race day, especially since research shows that recreational runners... 

The 5 Most Common Marathon Training Mistakes

The summer season is in full swing and for most runners this doesn’t conjure thoughts of the beach and barbeques, but rather the realization that marathon training has kicked into high gear. With just 12 to 16 weeks left before... 

Preparing for a Race – Components of a Training Plan
Matt Philips

You say “po-tay-toe”, I say “po-tah-to”; you say “Fall”, I say “Autumn”… Whichever side of the pond you are on, with September upon us chances are you are about to begin preparation for a distance race, be... 

Amenorrhea and Running: Is it Normal for Female Runners to Miss Their Period?

Amenorrhea is hardly a new issue in the world of endurance sports. Studies over the years have reported that over 60% of women athletes have what is known as “Athletic Amenorrhea,” that is disturbed menstruation due to the... 

Balance Exercises — Does Using Stabilty Balls and Other Unstable Surfaces Enhance Strength and Performance
swiss balls running strength

Maintaining your muscular strength with a regular strength routine is important for performance and for staying healthy.  But deciding on which exercises to do and how to do them can be a confusing process. Different variants... 

4 Essential Safety Tips for Female Runners

Last summer I went for a run with a group of about six women, all of whom were professional runners. We were laughing and talking about various things, until the conversation took a serious turn. One of the women told a story... 

The Effects of Various Types of Birth Control on Runners
Coach Sarah Crouch

It is sometimes hard to believe that there was ever a time before the Internet. Today, one can date, shop, attend school, chat, and share meaningful life events, all without leaving the comfort of home. In many ways, this age... 

How to Set a Realistic Marathon Goal Time

Proper marathon training begins with having a realistic, reachable goal time that corresponds to your abilities and current fitness levels. It doesn’t matter how great your training plan is or how dedicated you are, if you have... 

Improving Your Speed: Step Frequency and Step Length
how to improve running speed

RUN (rŭn) - to go steadily by springing steps so that both feet leave the ground for an instant in each step Competitive running, be it against yourself or against others, is essentially about getting from A to B in as short... 

The 3 Training Mistakes That Most Often Lead to Injury

Getting injured sucks. Not only does it prevent you from getting out the door and doing what you love every day, but staying healthy for an extended period of time is the single most important factor to improving your running. Interview... 

Why Running Harder Won’t Help You Get Faster
hi_vs_mod_intervals_1

In the vocabulary of a runner, patience is a dirty word. Runners always want to run faster, run more miles, and crush their personal bests and they want it now. To be more accurate, they wanted it yesterday. I know I felt this... 

How to Run a Night Race

For runners who competed in high school and college, racing in the afternoon or at night is a common experience. Particularly in college, almost all high-caliber track races take place at night to take advantage of the cool, calm... 

10k Specific Training Plan

The 10k is a difficult race distance to master. If you’re a beginner, running twice as far as the more commonly run 5k is quite the challenge and requires doubling your training efforts. For experienced runners, the 10k is a... 

Rest Periods During Workouts – An Overlooked Element of Training

Sometimes, it’s the simplest or most fundamental elements of training that both coaches and athletes overlook. When you’ve been training and competing for almost your entire life, it can be hard to think back to the basics.... 

Are you Putting Too Much Emphasis on the Long Run as Part of Your Marathon Training?

The marathon long run is overrated. In my experience, too many beginner runners (those training to run slower than 3:45) focus on trying to get in multiple 20 or 22 milers in their training segment at the expense of improving... 

The Truth About Dehydration and Optimal Performance

As the temperatures this summer begin to creep, runners are bombarded with the message to drink early and drink often when training and racing. However, is it possible that sports drinks companies have overhyped the message about... 

Dealing with Bad Workouts During a Marathon Training Segment

It’s that time of year again. The middle of summer is approaching and, if you’re training for one of the big Fall marathons, your marathon specific phase is only a few weeks away. While each training schedule or coach will... 

How Do Heavy Weights Benefit a Long Distance Runner

In addition to aerobic development, one of the key components to running faster is improving your ability to  Read More →

Extending Your Racing Season

If you compete long enough, there’s going to come a time when you want to extend your racing season or need to maintain your peak beyond your goal race. Perhaps your awesome performance qualified you for another racing opportunity... 

Push or Pull? A Look at Running Propulsion
Matt Philips

“Some people create with words, or with music, or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, “I’ve never seen anyone run like that before.”... 

Should You be Training for a Marathon this Fall?

Marathon participation around the world is booming. According to the most recent data from MarathonGuide.com, participation in marathons grew nearly 4 percent from 2010 to 2011, which resulted in a record 523,000 finishers in... 

Adapting Your Training to the Summer Heat

While it’s true running in the winter presents some serious motivational challenges thanks to short days, cold weather, and icy roads, it’s actually the summer season that negatively impacts training the most. Sure, bright... 

3 Ways to Sneak Speed Into Your Training Plan

Aerobic development is the primary avenue to long-term success in distance running. This reality has been proven through research and confirmed time and again by elite athletes and the best distances coaches in the world, even... 

Gait Retraining: Rehabilitating and Reducing the Recurrence of Running Specific Injuries
Photo Source: Dingwell et al. ISPO,  August 1996, Vol. 20, No. 2

In last week’s article, we considered how conscious attempts to try and modify your running form whilst running may not be the best way to improve running performance. Research does suggest that the brain activation needed actually... 

Training Doesn’t Occur in a Vacuum

As a runner, one of the most difficult concepts to understand is the idea that individual workouts do not occur in isolation of one another. The reality is that every workout is influenced by a myriad of factors and, more importantly,... 

Using Running Drills To Improve Running Efficiency
Running Drill: The B-March Courtesy of Runningtechniquecoach.com

Last week, I had the pleasure of working with NHS Choices, the United Kingdom’s biggest health website, as part of their “Couch to 5K” plan designed to help get people off the couch and running either 5K or 30 minutes by... 

Mind over Matter? The Central Governor Theory Explained

As runners, we spend countless hours focused on the physiological aspects of training – VO2max, threshold, aerobic development, etc.  And for good reason. There is no doubt that improving these biological systems will help... 

How to Motivate Yourself During Intense and Monotonous Weeks of Marathon Training?

Staying motivated during training is a challenge for beginners and the most experienced runners alike. For beginners, plowing through those early, tough runs when you feel slower than everyone around you is a tough proposition.... 

How to Train While Travelling and Take a Consistent View of Training

While it’s not quite summer yet, school vacation, road trips, and weekend getaways will be here to interrupt your training before you know it.  Heck, due to a hectic work schedule, many of you reading this article don’t need... 

How and Why Should You Strengthen Your Hip Abductors
How and Why Should You Strengthen Your Hip Abductors?

Source: Wikimedia Commons In the article “Proper Running Form: Does Gravity Help You Run Faster?”, we considered the importance of hip extension in running and noted that in cases of runners with restricted mobility in the... 

Why Long Runs and Workouts Don’t Need to Feel Like You Could Run Goal Pace for the Full Marathon

Simply running 26.2 miles is a daunting task, so the thought of trying to race a full marathon as fast as you can seems almost impossible – and probably a little crazy. It’s no surprise then that training for a marathon is... 

Choosing the Right Running Shoes: A Look at How Trainers Affect Training and Running Performance
Part of Pete’s Running Shoe Collection, 2010. (Photo Courtesy of P. Larson)

Following last week’s article “Foot Types & Foot Wear,” I have had quite a few runners ask me the same question, with words to the effect of: “Ok, if the whole overpronation shoe model thing has no evidence, what the... 

How to Overcome Getting Nervous Before Workouts

If you spend most of your day dreading your next big workout, you’re not alone. Most of the runners I coach, and I myself, have a tendency to fixate on the impending pain and struggle the next workout will bring. Fretting over... 

The Impact of Footwear and Foot Type on Injury Prevention
RC6_FootTypes

“Always Evolve” – one of my favourite valedictions used by esteemed physical therapist and blogger Mike Scott, DPT at the end of posts in his weekly series “Educainment.” Running has certainly seen some evolution of... 

Do You Think You Run Slow? Why Being “Slow” Doesn’t Matter

When I first started working with age-group and recreational runners in 2006, one of the biggest surprises to me was the amount of negative thinking and lack of self-confidence many runners exhibited. Almost every runner that... 

Proper Running Form: Does Gravity Help You Run Faster? The Importance of Hip Extension, Leaning from the Ankles, and How to Improve your Efficiency
MP_RC5_Slingshot

In last week’s article “How Does Cadence Affect Injury and Performance,” we saw how making a small change to one’s running mechanics can have a significant knock on effect elsewhere in the body. It is important that we... 

Minutes or Miles: Is There a Best Way to Train?

Is it better to train by minutes or by tracking miles? It’s a question many runners ponder, but like almost everything in running, there isn’t a definitive answer. For some runners, training by time provides a more flexible... 

How Does Cadence Affect Injury and Performance
RC4_Matt_Photo_Expo

Last week we began to look at elements of running form common to most successful running styles by considering the issue of overstriding, i.e. where initial contact of the front foot happens too far out in front of the body, creating... 

3 Pre-Race and Race Day Myths Debunked for Beginner Runners

Runners put a lot of thought and planning into their training schedule, and rightfully so. The right combination of recovery, hard workouts, mileage and long runs are the main factors to running a new personal best. However, an... 

Heel Striking, Overstriding, and Cadence
running cadence

In last week’s article, Introduction To Running Biomechanics, we took a look at the individual components that make up a single stride, collectively referred to as the Gait Cycle. We considered two phases: the Stance Phase (during... 

How to Prepare Your Body to Run an Ultra Race

As the winter slowly begins to loosen it’s grasp, runners everywhere begin to set their new running goals for the spring, summer and fall. For many, setting personal records and getting healthy are at the top of their running... 

Two Workouts That Will Take Your Marathon Long Runs to the Next Level

It’s not uncommon for runners to get stuck at a plateau in the marathon, especially when your times start dipping under the 3-hour range. Unless you want to start living your life like an elite runner (and perhaps you already... 

What Can the Ancient Greeks Teach You About Proper Training Progression

Greek tragedies and myths are fantastic pieces of literature. They possess a poetic literary style, are captivating stories, and tell tales of heroes we can revere. More importantly, Greek tragedies are written as covert life-lessons... 

How To Manage Exercise-Induced Asthma? Prevention Strategies And Medications

Last week we looked at the abnormally high incidence of exercise-induced asthma in runners and other endurance athletes. High volume endurance exercise exposes your lungs to a much greater amount of airborne irritants like pollen,... 

Is Your Concept of Base Training Wrong? Why the Base Training Phase is More Than Just Lots of Easy Running

If you’ve been running for a few years, you’ve probably encountered the term base training before. Perhaps you read about it in a magazine or someone in your running group mentioned it as a reason for their poor performance:... 

Analyzing Race Performance When Conditions Are Not Ideal

As many of the popular Spring races quickly approach, the fear of another hotter-than-normal racing season is on the minds of many runners. In 2012, many of the largest and most prestigious races in the US were crippled by unseasonably... 

How to Train for and Race the Boston Marathon Course: Interview with BAA Coach Terry Shea
how to run boston marathon course

Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is the pinnacle of running achievements for most runners. For some, race day is a time to celebrate that accomplishment and soak up all the sights, sounds, and experiences that make Boston so... 

The Benefits of Circuit Training for Runners
circuit training for runners

You’d probably be surprised to learn that as part of her training for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Shalane Flanagan included copious amounts of circuit training work in addition to her running workouts. In fact, on hard workout... 

What is better for workouts, the track or roads? Why vary the terrain of your speed workouts

In training theory, perhaps the two most agreed upon principles relate to training stimulus and specificity. Simply speaking, to improve, you need to continually introduce or adapt the body to new stimuli or stress. Moreover,... 

Is Shooting for a Time Goal Preventing You From Running Faster?

One of the most difficult aspects of being a running coach is helping athletes set realistic goals. No one wants to be the person that tells a fellow runner their dream of qualifying for Boston probably won’t happen, or that... 

The Research on Hamstring Stretching. The Impact on Gait and Plantar Fasciitis Injuries

How often do you really stretch your legs out? Ever since a large research study by the United States Track and Field demonstrated that pre-run stretching had no effect on injury rates,1 its popularity has been going downhill. Stretching... 

How to Teach Yourself the Art of Pacing to Improve Your Race Performance

The line between setting a new personal best and a near miss is often razor thin. A simple mistake, like running just a few seconds too slowly at any point during a race could change your primary energy system and spell disaster... 

What is the Optimal Strategy for Increasing Mileage to Avoid Injury: Research on the 10-Percent Rule and Down Weeks

When it comes to your week-to-week training progression, there are a range of options. Some runners charge headlong into higher mileage and intensity, relying on their body to signal before an injury or complication develops. Others... 

Do You Need More Energy? A Guide to Finding the Right Calorie Balance for Running

Last week, we posted two overtraining and low-energy availability related articles, and both highlighted the symptoms and methods for altering training and eating habits to avoid them. But what if the signs are subtle? How would... 

How to Return to Running After Injury, Sickness or Missing Training
How to Return to Running After Injury, Sickness or Missing Training

Following a training schedule rarely goes 100 percent according to plan. You’ll miss days thanks to your boss unloading a huge project on you days before the deadline, your kids bringing home every strain of the cold and flu... 

Could Keeping a Training Log Hurt Your Running?

Whether it’s as traditional as pen and paper or using one of the myriad of fancy apps and websites, the benefits of keeping a training log are well-known to many experienced runners. Setting goals, tracking injuries, motivation... 

Defining the Line Between Training Hard and Overtraining

Overtraining can be a real season-killer. When you push too hard in training and don’t recover enough, your workouts will begin to feel lackluster and you’ll be sapped of energy, even in your daily life. This week... 

What You Can Learn from the History of Training Methods

One of the best markers for defining pure running talent is the ability to break nine minutes in the two mile (or 3200 meters) in high school. Case in point: Every distance runner (steeplechase and up) on the 2012 Olympic team... 

Thyroid Imbalance in Runners: A Look at the Impact of Training on Thyroid Levels

A thyroid disorder can be a vexing problem for a runner. The initial symptoms of a problem with thyroid hormone levels are quite vague, and even once it’s diagnosed, thyroid levels have to be closely monitored and managed... 

Using Heart Rate to Measure Fatigue, Monitor Recovery and Know When to Train Hard Again

While I’ve written before about why I prefer not to train and coach by heart rate, I have found that for assessing recovery and how the body is adapting to training it can be a great tool. Specifically, runners can measure their... 

How to Run Consecutive Marathons: A Training Guide for Success

While properly recovering from a marathon and subsequently executing a full course of training prior to the next race is the optimal approach, it’s a reality that many runners find themselves with the daunting task of running... 

Hard Days Hard, Easy Days Easy: A Simple Principle for Incorporating Strength Training into a Running Routine

Whether the desired outcome is general fitness, increased explosiveness and stride efficiency, or injury prevention, most runners understand the importance of adding strength training to their running schedule. However, despite... 

Is the Elliptical Machine a Viable Cross Training Alternative for Runners

A few weeks ago, we examined the benefits of aqua jogging for injured runners and provided some sample workouts to help keep you as fit as possible during time off. Unfortunately, not all runners are able to take advantage of... 

Looking Beyond the One-Size-Fits-All Marathon Training Plan: Finding an Individualized Approach that Works

What’s the issue with “proprietary systems” and “secret training methods”? Besides being absurd, it’s often that they try mold basic training principles to fit their system. For example. Outside... 

How Does Running Affect Your Immune System? The Research on Illness, Part II

Last week, we looked at some research on running while sick. Surprisingly, we found evidence that running when you’ve come down with a minor illness like a cold isn’t such a bad idea. In fact, it doesn’t seem to change the... 

10k-Specific Training: A Six-Week Plan for Applying the Adaption Principle

The 10k is a difficult race distance to master. If you’re a beginner, running twice as far as the more commonly run 5k is quite the challenge and requires doubling your training efforts. For experienced runners, the 10k is a... 

4 Strategies to Conquer Pre-Race Nerves

Very rare and special is the athlete that does not get nervous prior to a competition. Nerves can even be a good thing. Being a little nervous means you care about your performance, and you put in a lot of hard training to prepare. However,... 

Can Long-term Running Impact Joint Health? What the Science Says About the Risk of Osteoarthritis from Running

“All that running will wreck your knees.” Pretty much every runner has heard this one at least once (inevitably from a nonrunner). It’s common enough to have become something of a cliché, but is there any truth to it? In... 

Do You Believe These 3 Most Common Training Myths?

I spend a lot of time participating in message boards, interacting with my own community of runners, and answering training questions. As such, I’ve heard almost every running myth and training falsehood you could imagine. In... 

How Quickly Do You Lose Gains from Strength Training? And, Could Taking a Break Actually Benefit You?

Last week, we looked at how your aerobic fitness declines after you take some time off from running. While of interest to runners taking a break after a marathon or those afflicted with an injury, healthy runners in training fortunately... 

Half Marathon Specific Training

While the half marathon distance doesn’t strike fear into the hearts of runners like a marathon does, it’s still a daunting challenge for the beginner and experienced runner alike. For faster runners, racing on the edge of... 

Teach Yourself the Skill of Racing and Crush Your Next Race
traditional workout

It’s easy to get so caught up in the numbers on the Garmin, the readings from a heart rate monitor, and physiological concepts like VO2max and lactate threshold that we forget running, at it’s core, is about you versus yourself.... 

How Long Does It Take to Lose Your Running Fitness

Taking time away from running is never a great prospect to a serious runner. Not only does it remove one of the more enjoyable daily activities from your schedule, but there’s also the concern of losing fitness. This week, we’ll... 

What is the Optimal Long Run Pace
optimal-easy-run-pace

The long run is a staple in almost every runners weekly training schedule. It doesn’t matter if you’re training for the 5k or the marathon, more than likely, you have at least one day designated as your long run day each week. However,... 

Does Music Help You Run Faster? A Look at the Scientific Research

One thing that’s nearly ubiquitous among recreational runners at health clubs and on the roads is an iPod or mp3 player strapped to their arm. Most of these folks probably just use them as a distraction, especially if they don’t... 

How Running in the Cold Impacts Race Performance

With autumn already upon us, many runners are looking ahead to their final races of the year. While there’s usually a lull in road races in the late fall and early winter, there are nevertheless many races near Halloween, Thanksgiving,... 

New York City Marathon Race Strategy: How to Crush the Five Burroughs
NYC Marathon course strategy

With just over 45,000 finishers each year, the New York City Marathon is the largest marathon in the world. It’s also one of the most difficult courses of the Major Marathons. With deceptively hilly bridges, a tough finish through... 

How Much Time Do You Need to Take Off After a Marathon

Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes marathon runners make is not taking enough rest after finishing their goal race, especially if they’ve been consistently training for months on end. Understandably, for a dedicated runner,... 

How to Train for a Tough Mudder or Other Obstacle Style Race

Tough Mudders, Zombie Runs, and Paint Runs are quickly becoming popular amongst both serious and beginner runners alike. In 2012, Tough Mudder has conducted 35 events in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia with more than 500,000... 

The Impact of Jet Lag on Running Performance and How to Minimize its Effects

With the rise of the big-city marathon, more and more runners are traveling to other states and even other countries to race. Dealing with changing time zones right before a competition used to be a problem only for top athletes,... 

The Ultimate Marine Corps Marathon Race Strategy
marine corps marathon elevation

The Marine Corps Marathon is one of the most inspiring, scenic, and well-supported marathons in the US. When you have America’s finest service members passing out water and energy gels, you can be sure things are getting... 

Running on No Sleep: How it Effects Performance on Race Day and in Training

Last week, we saw how the time of day can affect your performance. Because of the way your body’s core temperature is modulated over the course of each 24-hour day, athletic performance appears to be enhanced in the late afternoon... 

When is the Best Time of Day to Run

Most runners tend to feel sluggish when they run early in the morning and more “snappy” in the afternoon or evening. But how big is this effect? Are your morning runs listless because you just rolled out of bed, or is there... 

How to Create a Flexible Race Plan to Adapt When Things Go Wrong During a Race

No matter how hard you train, how much you pray to the weather gods, or how thoroughly you prepare, if you race frequently, you’re going to experience a day when nothing goes right. It’s easy to plan the perfect race strategy,... 

The Ultimate Chicago Marathon Race Guide
chicago marathon course profile

The Chicago Marathon is one of the largest and most exciting marathons in the world. With over 45,000 runners, hundreds of thousands of spectators, and a pancake-flat course, it is also one of the fastest courses in the world.... 

3 Common Marathon Tapering Mistakes in the Last Three Weeks

A common saying among veteran and elite marathoners is that “the marathon taper is harder than the training itself.” When you’ve achieved a level of fitness where you’re no longer worried about your ability to complete... 

4 Lessons About Training I Wish I Knew When I First Started Running

I’ve been fortunate to be a runner for more than half my life (albeit I am still pretty young) and had the opportunity to train with some of the best running groups and athletes in the US. Likewise, I’ve had the amazing opportunity... 

The Benefits of Strength Training for Distance Runners

Hitting the weight room is a foreign concept to many distance runners. Old fears about becoming a hulking, muscle-bound back-of-the-packer are to blame for many runners avoiding weights. Even some exceptionally famous coaches... 

Don’t Settle for the Bare Minimum in Your Training

In one of my all-time favorite movies Office Space, Jennifer Aniston’s character Joanna is chastised for only wearing the bare minimum amount of flare. When confronted about her decision to wear only fifteen pieces of flare,... 

Is Heating Before a Run Effective? The Latest Research on When You Should and Shouldn’t Use Heat

Two weeks ago, we looked at when and how cold-water immersion, or ice-bathing, can be useful in training. Through a combination of hydrostatic pressure and cooling from the low-temperature water, ice baths seem to aid recovery... 

The Common Runners Guide to Racing, Vacationing, and Running at Altitude

For runners who don’t live in the Eastern Sierras or in the hills of Colorado, altitude training is a tactic normally associated with elite athletes and Olympians. However, many runners face training or racing at altitude at... 

Plyometric Exercises for Runners: The Latest Research on Whether They Will Improve Your Performance

One of the most important functions of muscles and tendons in running is to store energy. Much like a pogo stick, your body can store energy from impact and release it to propel your body forward. A large proportion of your propulsive... 

Planning the Optimal 1 or 2 Year Training Cycle

Runners tend to think of training in isolated blocks: 16 weeks of training for this marathon, 12 weeks of training for the upcoming 5k.  However, training doesn’t occur in neat little segments like we have a habit of thinking.... 

How to Keep Your Speed During Marathon Training

While the fall racing season may seem like a lifetime away, especially when you haven’t had a chance to fully  enjoy your summer vacation yet, if you managed to nab a spot at your fall marathon of choice, the time to begin... 

Will P90x or CrossFit Make You a Better Runner?

The short answer to whether fitness programs like P90x, Insanity or CrossFit will make you a better runner is NO.  However, as many experienced athletes know, training theory isn’t black and white and there is never a simple... 

How lactic acid really works: The science of fatigue and lactate

There’s a lot of fuss in the running world about lactate. Or, depending on who you ask, lactic acid. It’s been blamed for fatigue, soreness, overtraining, and probably more, but until recently, the phenomenon of lactate accumulation... 

How Race Specific Workouts Will Help You Smash Your Personal Bests

Focusing your training and having a specific, measurable plan of action is essential if you want to conquer your racing goes. Very few runners are successful when they blindly cobble together workouts, especially in the last few... 

The Science of “Bonking” and Glycogen Depletion

“Bonking” in a marathon is a miserable experience. Bonking, or “hitting the wall” as it is also known, is a well-known phenomena among marathon and ultramarathon runners which occurs when your body runs out of sugar to... 

How to Feel Your Pace: What Different Types of Running Workouts Should Feel Like

As a beginner runner, training vernacular can sometimes make your head spin. Head out on a run with your local running club or pick up the latest issue of your favorite magazine and your head is immediately filled with words such... 

How much does running in windy conditions affect running performance

The popularity of various research topics ebbs and flows in the annals of exercise physiology. Right now, the hot topics are how footwear and biomechanics can affect injury risk and performance. In years past, the focus has been... 

Is treadmill running the same or easier than running outside

I go to my local community center to lift and stretch out almost every day. Even in the spring and summer, there are always at least a few people pounding away on the treadmill. I can’t help but wonder, “With such beautiful... 

Speed development: Why marathoners should sometimes train like sprinters

As training theory continues to evolve, coaches and exercise scientists are continuing to uncover more effective and efficient ways to train and get results at long distance racing. In particular, coaches now understand the importance... 

Racing yourself into shape: The pros, cons, and specific advice

Planning the perfect training schedule is always a delicate balance between doing what is “fun” (ripping 200 meter repeats, 24-hour relays with friends, and racing every weekend) with the optimal physiological adaptations... 

Running and Sleep Issues

Sleep. Almost all runners need more of it, but very few are able to get the optimal number of hours every night. Running publications routinely publish articles on the importance of sleep, so it’s no surprise that runners understand... 

How to Return to Running After an Injury

Every runner deals with the reality of getting hurt, being sick, or just missing time away from training – it’s an unfortunate reality of a sport that requires countless miles and difficult, repetitive training. While... 

The Proper Technique for Running Uphill and Downhill

Last week we looked at some of the science about running up and down hills. This week, we’ll be returning to the subject of hills but with a more biomechanically-oriented perspective. It’s important not only to know when and... 

The Ideal Marathon Recovery Plan: Learning from Elite Runners

One of the the things that has shocked me the most as a coach is how quickly the most runners want to jump back into hard training after a marathon. Whenever I look at a training schedule from a runner who is not an elite, the... 

The Science of Hill Running and How It Impacts Your Race Times

Unless you confine your competitions to the track, hills are a fact of life for every runner. Obviously, running up a hill takes more energy than running over flat ground, and running down a hill saves energy, but today we’re... 

Base Training for Running a 5k or 10k

Before you can get on the track and start hammering the anaerobic intervals and short races looking for PR’s, you need to build your fitness so you can get the most out of those lung searing intervals. This cycle of training... 

Learning to Trust Your Training

Trust. It’s an often overlooked concept when coaches and runners think about training and racing. Unfortunately, trusting your training plan, your fitness, and even yourself is as critical in running as it is in the relationship... 

How Running is like Baseball

One way to help beginner runners grasp important training theories is to use analogies or relate concepts to other sports they can understand or played as kids. One aspect of training that I find to be particularly difficult for... 

Marathon Base Training: Learning from Elite Runners

It is my position that when you are in the specific phase of marathon training, you are not really trying to improve your overall fitness. Rather, you’re trying to shape and mold your general fitness to the specific demands... 

Qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 2013

// // // ]]> Qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 2013 just got a little bit harder than previous years. In addition to dropping the qualifying standards by 5 minutes and eliminating the 59 second grace time, the registration... 

Trying to run through injuries: Lessons from an elite runner

This week I’m demonstrating  a couple of the better training weeks I have put together. They also didn’t really go anywhere. This was supposed to be a base phase for a big fall half marathon or marathon. I was carrying... 

How to Run a Marathon in the Heat

With the record heat forecasted for this year’s Boston Marathon many runners are rightfully beginning to panic and look for any tips, tricks and strategies they can implement to run well in the face of oppressive conditions. ... 

4 Strategies to overcome a lack of racing confidence

A runner who is scared to race – sounds like an amusing anecdote one might read in a children’s book. However, if you’ve been in the sport long enough, you’ve undoubtedly had a running friend who was scared to race,... 

How to improve your marathon time by training for the 5k

As promised, this week elite training article includes some of the full training around the 5k-specific workout series that we discussed in last week’s article. As you look through this cycle, I would like you to keep a few... 

The effectiveness of strength training for runners – the latest research

Distance runners are near legendary for their aversion to strength training, and for good reason. Many successful coaches and athletes in the past made a point to avoid strength training. The philosophical debate over the place... 

5k Specific Training: Learning from Elite Runners

In this week’s view into elite training, I’m doing something a little different. Rather then look at a couple of weeks of complete training, I have pulled out a progressive set of 5k-specific workout runs that take place over... 

Planning after you finish a marathon: Good, bad, and mediocre

Most marathoners think the race is over once they cross the finish line. All the hard work and the mental nervousness will cease to exist as soon as they are wrapped in that mylar blanket. Unfortunately, if you’re an experienced... 

The Science of Racing Flats

Dusting off a pair of racing shoes is a common ritual for serious road runners at the start of the spring.  If you did most of your races last year in your regular training shoes, you might be wondering about the advantages and... 

Supercompensation Training: Learning from Elite Runners

In this week’s glimpse inside the training of an elite runner, I want to discuss the theory and practice of supercompensation training. More specifically, putting in massive amounts of training fora short period of time and... 

Racing tactics 101: 4 ways to dominate your next race

Believe it or not, racing is a skill; and, just like a basketball player practices by shooting free throws, you can become a better racer and improve your performance by brushing up on your racing tactics. By nature, our bodies... 

6 essential strategies revealed by the science of hot weather running

It was nearly eighty degrees in Minneapolis yesterday.  Beautiful weather if you’re just enjoying a walk, but downright sweltering if you are trying to get a run in.  Temperatures were much the same in the rest of the country:... 

What elite marathoners can teach you about the marathon taper

The marathon taper is perhaps one of the most nerve-wracking parts of marathon training and often the time you find yourself questioning your fitness and training the most. Therefore, I thought it would be helpful to show you... 

Yasso 800′s for Marathon Training

Most runners are somewhat familiar with the term Yasso 800′s, a workout that supposedly predicts marathon finishing time from a session of 10 x 800 meters with equal time rest between each 800. However, as a running coach... 

Why cardiac drift is important for runners who train by heart rate
cardiac drift heart rate

In two previous articles, I’ve discussed the importance of breaking free of your Garmin dependency and three reasons not to train with a heart rate monitor. Reading both articles may make it seem like I am harsh critic of... 

How much does age affect running performance – is it all downhill after 40?

The last twelve months have not been kind for Haile Gebrselassie.  The 38-year-old Ethiopian, hailed by many as the greatest long-distance runner of all time, had to drop out of the Berlin marathon because of an asthma attack,... 

Elite Training- Marathon Specific Phase

Background This is two weeks from my build up to the 2008 USA Olympic Trials marathon held on November 3, 2007.  Perhaps someday I’ll write an article about why a race called the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials was held in... 

Learning from elite runners: A post marathon speed training phase
taper aerobic running

In the previous few articles I’ve posted about my training as an elite runner, I’ve primarily exhibited specific training concepts within 2 week training blocks. So far, I’ve felt this to be a great way to demonstrate... 

Marathon training doldrums: How to evaluate bad workouts

The anticipated physical torture of marathon training is enough to keep most sane people away from training for the vaunted 26.2 mile distance. However, what most non-marathoners don’t realize is that the mental anguish... 

10k Specific Training – A glimpse inside the training of an elite runner

In this week’s glimpse inside the training of an elite runner, I am going to show you a two week 10k specific block of training. In past articles, we’ve discussed the theoretical background behind the need to train... 

Why I don’t recommend training by heart rate

The potential benefits of training with a heart rate monitor have been so ubiquitously espoused in running magazines that many runners feel it’s an absolute necessity to train by heart rate. Heart rate monitors can keep... 

Long-term development: Why workout times don’t always translate to race day performance

Have you ever had a perfect marathon training cycle and made breakthroughs in all your workouts times, only to find that your workout fitness doesn’t seem to translate to a similar performance on race day? Don’t worry,... 

Why you shouldn’t use marathons as long runs in training

In one of my previous articles, I outlined how you can incorporate shorter, more “fun-oriented” races into your schedule while still keeping the integrity of your training plan intact. If you read the article, you... 

Elite Runner Training: Overtraining and learning to listen to your body

In my last post about my training, I detailed a productive two-week marathon cycle where I was training well and recovering from the workouts – despite the high mileage. This week, I want to share a two-week cycle of training... 

How long before you benefit from a running workout

It’s the question all runners want to know – “how long will it be before I see the benefits from my workout?” Unfortunately, like most aspects of running and training, there isn’t a quick and easy... 

How to Incorporate Tune-Up Races into Your Training

Besides talent, perhaps the biggest difference between the way elite runners approach their training compared to us mere mortals is in the amount of racing they do as part of their important training segments. Elite runners often... 

Should I Run the Day Before My Race?

The day before a race is an important day and full of decisions that can affect your performance – both positively and negatively. You’ve got to fuel properly, not tire your legs by walking around at the expo, and... 

Training for a hilly race: When and How to Use Hills in your Training

One of the hardest parts about constructing a great training plan is trying to figure out how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. For each week or training cycle, we have a myriad of possible workouts to choose from –... 

Treadmill vs. Running Outside

Is running on a treadmill the same as running outside? It’s a common question and despite conflicting opinions, scientific research has shown that running on the treadmill is roughly the same as running outside if you make... 

Reassessing the 7 day Training Week

Your coaches here are RunnersConnect are always looking for that extra edge to help push you to the next level and beyond. We turn your training logs inside out and are always on the lookout for new research and any tidbit that... 

Speed vs. Aerobic Endurance – what is holding you back

The first step to improving is almost always identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Whether it be preparing for a job interview or improving your 5k PR by 30 seconds, identifying the areas that need the most work allows you... 

Doubles: The when, why, and how of running twice per day

If you’ve spent enough time at your running club’s favorite watering hole, or happened to ease drop on a conversation between veteran runners, you’ve probably heard the concept of running twice per day. Runners... 

Racing Flats

When you’re vying for a top ten finish at a major marathon or your most recent results determine if you can put food on the table, it’s easy to understand why wearing racing flats is a no-brainer. But can wearing racing flats... 

Focus On The Right Metrics

Analyzing metrics in the workplace is a familiar concept. Whether it be counting the visitors to a website, calculating the number of widgets sold, or measuring levels of employee satisfaction, we all have metrics in our daily... 

The Week Before a Marathon

As marathons continually increase in size and more and more runners choose to run destination marathons, the planning and logistics the last week before a marathon are becoming increasingly important. To reduce pre race nerves... 

Three Reasons to Rethink the Marathon

Marathon participation around the world is booming. According to the most recent data from MarathonGuide.com, participation in marathons grew nearly 10% from 2008 to 2009, which resulted in a record 468,000 finishers in 2009.... 

How Training is Like Investing

I’m always on the lookout for good analogies to explain how training works, especially for less scientifically based training concepts. Recently, a trip to the financial planner lead me to open my first retirement account (yup,... 

Rethinking the Traditional Training Model
pyramid training model

Just like there are many ways to skin a cat, there are many ways to formulate the perfect training plan. The trick is finding that critical balance of workouts, recovery, and training paces that work for your body and your particular... 

Develop and stick to a routine for more consistent performance

My college coach began each cross country season with an impassioned speech that helped lay the groundwork for our upcoming season and remind us of the little things we needed to do each day to be successful. His principal advice,... 

Can a shakeout run improve race day performance?

Perhaps one of the most underrated components of a great race is priming the body to run fast by executing a proper warm-up. Getting the muscles loose, the neuromuscular system firing on all cylinders, and the body prepared to... 

How to Recover after a Marathon

Recovering from a marathon is a critical component to a perfect training plan that runners often neglect. Unfortunately, if you don’t properly recover from your marathon, you’ll increase you injury risk and limit your... 

How to Break Out of Your Running Slump

Finding yourself stuck in a slump happens to every athlete at least once in their career. It doesn’t matter if your slump is physical or mental, climbing your way out of a rough patch in training or racing can feel like... 

VO2 Max for Runners
VO2 max for runners

If you grew up in the 80′s and early 90′s, as I did, or maybe just watched a lot of Saturday morning cartoons with your children, you probably caught a few episodes of GI Joe. At the end of every episode, a member of the GI... 

Tempo Intervals
tempo intervals

Tempo intervals are simply tempo runs that are broken into bite-size intervals to help you run longer at your threshold pace, or as an opportunity to run faster than you would for a normal tempo run. On your training schedule,... 

Don’t be a slave to your Garmin

In the last few years, GPS watches have completely revolutionized the way runners train. I’m not old by any means, but I still recall doing many of my training runs in high school, college, and even as a professional on roads... 

4 Simple Form Tweaks That Make Running Hills Easier
how to run uphill

Whether you encounter hills in training or on the race course, fighting gravity can quickly become an epic struggle both mentally and physically. However, running hills doesn’t have to ruin your workout or race. By maintaining... 

Avoid These 3 Common Tapering Mistakes

Tapering. It might be one of the most feared words in a runner’s vocabulary, right next to patience and rest. After months of long miles and lung busting intervals, finding the right balance of sharpening and rest to hit... 

Visualization and Mental Planning for Better Racing

As runners, we’re always looking for that extra edge in training to make us faster and more consistent on the race course. Understandably, most of our efforts to improve are geared towards the physical – lowering lactate... 

Why Running Faster than Prescribed is Not Always Better

Breaking the speed limit in a car is illegal, and if I had it my way as a coach, it would be illegal in running workouts, too. In a runner’s mind faster is always better, and any run that is longer or harder than prescribed... 

Optimal Stride Rate for Runners

For both beginners and advanced runners alike, improving running form and technique is one of the most asked questions I get as a running coach. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most complex and variable components of... 

Improve Your Pacing Skills

Learning to properly pace yourself during a race is one of the most critical skills a runner can develop. To maximize your potential on race day, you need to become a master at pacing yourself and learning to feel the disparity... 

Marathon Training Mistakes – Too Many Tune-up Races

The marathon is unlike any other race distance. To run to your potential, you need to ensure that your training plan is focused on the specific demands of the 26.2 mile distance, which includes elements such as fuel conservation... 

Fast Finish Long Runs

Long runs for the marathon are a staple of every training plan – no doubt about it. To prepare optimally for the marathon distance, it’s critical that you train for the specific demands of the race. If you want to... 

Tempo Training – Alternating Tempos

Improving your lactate threshold is one of the most efficient ways to train yourself to run faster at any distance over 10k.  Luckily for runners, we have more than one way to improve your lactate threshold, so you don’t... 

Race Strategy for the Marathon

You’ve followed the training, then you’ve practiced your nutrition strategy, you’ve completed the long runs, you’ve put together the perfect taper, and you’re ready for success on race day. The last missing piece is... 

What is Lactate Threshold

Lactate threshold is a term than is commonly used in training vernacular, but has most runners more confused than a high school kid in calculus class. I’m not going to lie, the complexities of lactate threshold, or lactate... 

Half Marathon Race Plan

*Note: Remember to enter time as h:mm:ss. So, a 2 hour marathon time would look like: 2:00:00 Warm-up You should arrive at the race about 60 minutes (or more) prior to the start time. This will allow you to settle down, find... 

Race plan for a 10k race

*Note: Remember to enter time as h:mm:ss. So, a 42 minute 10k time would look like: 0:42:00 Warm-up for a 10k You should arrive at the race about 60 minutes (or more) prior to the start time. This will allow you to settle down,... 

Race Plan for a 5k run

*Note: Remember to enter time as h:mm:ss. So, a 23 minute 5k time would look like: 0:23:00 Warm-up for a 5k You should arrive at the race about 60 minutes (or more) prior to the start time. This will allow you to settle down,... 

Marathon Race Strategy: The Perfect Strategy for the Marathon
marathon race strategy

You’ve followed the training, then you’ve practiced your nutrition strategy, you’ve completed the long runs, you’ve put together the perfect taper, and you’re ready for success on race day. The last missing piece is... 

Pre Race Jitters

It’s common for runners to get nervous before their big goal race. Who wouldn’t? You’ve run countless miles, toiled in the hot summer sun, shivered in freezing winds, and hit lung-busting intervals until your head was spinning.... 

Marathon long runs

Most runners know the benefits of the long run when training for the marathon or half marathon distance. However, what most marathoners don’t realize that they don’t need to run for longer than 20 miles in their marathon training.... 

Running Workouts – Cutdown runs

As I discussed in one my earlier posts, I believe strongly that to improve your running, you need to train to the specific demands of the race. For example, if you’ve read my articles on marathon training, than you know that... 

Tempo and Interval Combo Workouts

The main purpose for many of the workouts on your training schedule are to simulate the specific demands of your race in as many ways as possible. This can include the mental demands, training specific energy systems, simulating... 

Teach Yourself How to Race Faster

One of the most misunderstood aspects of distance running is the race itself. What most runners don’t realize is that racing is a skill. It’s a skill you can teach yourself and a skill you can practice, just like hitting a... 

Race Strategy for the Marathon

This post wraps up my summer long series of marathon and half marathon training and race strategy. If you’ve followed the blog, then you’ve practiced your nutrition strategy, you’ve completed the long runs, you’ve put... 

Running Marathon in Bad Weather

Running a marathon or half marathon in the rain, cold, or heat isn’t an exciting thought. However, you can’t change the weather, so the best strategy is to be prepared. The following is a brief list of some innovative... 

How to Taper For a Marathon

You’ve pushed through tired legs on your long runs; hit the track for speed workouts until your shoes were soaked with sweat; and recorded enough miles to put your car to shame. With three weeks to go until the big race, all... 

Why Planned Down Weeks are Important

I like using analogies. They help me explain complicated physiological processes to runners in a way that not only helps them understand the science behind what they’re doing, but also makes it practical. So, I think the best... 

Surges During Your Long Run

From elites to first time 5k runners, almost everyone knows it is important to get some sort of long run into their training plan every week or two. However, the long run has the potential to be more than just time on your feet... 

How to Rest During Interval Workouts

One of the questions I get asked most often, from both new and experienced runners alike, is what to doing the rest period between hard interval repeats. Do you stand around, walk for a bit, or just keep right on running? It’s... 

Threshold Intervals

When designing running workouts, a coach can manipulate three elements of the training plan to elicit certain physiological adaptations. These three elements are: (1) the time or distance of the interval; (2) the speed or pace... 

To Stretch or Not to Stretch

While no one would argue that a good diet and a reasonable training schedule are invaluable in preventing injuries, there’s a surprising amount of controversy regarding the role of stretching. Some people swear by it, while... 

How Steady Runs can Help You Run Faster

Steady runs, or steady state runs as some literature refers to them, are a great way to build aerobic strength, which is the foundation for your best performances from 5k to the marathon. Simply speaking, I define steady runs... 

How to Warm-Up

Warming up properly for your workouts will help you stay injury-free and is the easiest way to improve your race times at shorter races like the 5k or 10k. The warm-up is an important part of any workout, and one of the most important... 

How Strides Can Help You Run Faster

What are Strides? Strides are 20 to 35 second sprints at your mile race pace, or roughly 85 to 95% effort. Typically, they are assigned to a running schedule after an easy recovery run or before a big workout or race. Strides... 

Heart Rate Training Caveats

This will be the last of my heart rate training articles, but not the last of me discussing the training concept, especially if you have questions. This article will focus on the caveats to heart rate training and special issues... 

Heart Rate Training Zones for Running

In my previous post on how to calculate your heart rate, I detailed the process of finding your maximum and resting heart rates. Now, you’ve got those numbers all figured out, but how do they apply to your running? Basically,... 

Heart Rate Training Part I – Calculating your Maximum Heart rate

So, you’ve decided to try your hand at heart rate training to help monitor your effort level while running. You’ve got the heart rate monitor, you’ve got the passion, now what do all those numbers mean? It’s actually simpler... 

The Importance of Aerobic Running
5k and 10k specific training

In one of my earlier posts I discussed the difference between aerobic and anaerobic training and the effect each can have on your performance. While I made some general claims about the importance of running aerobically, I think... 

The Best Marathon Workout

The marathon is a demanding event that requires training on tired legs and implementing workouts that simulate the fatigue and soreness you will experience during the latter stages of the race. For almost all other race distances,... 

Explosive Hill Sprints

After a lot of research and experimentation on myself, I believe inserting short hill sprints into the training of the athletes I coach has had a tremendous benefit on their overall fitness and speed. Specifically, I will have...