5 Tips to “Train Like You Race”

Each week there are things we can be constantly implementing into our workouts to get
the most out of our workouts! How can you “Train Like You Race”? Small details &
successes over time add up to big results! I started thinking about all of the different
things that help to make me successful with my workouts each week. How do I best
prepare myself for each run to make sure I am getting the most out of my training
program along with recovering & staying balanced?
Here are the things I thought of and I am sure all of you can help me build onto this list!
If you currently do not do these things with your training it is time to start!! I want to
make sure each of you are getting the most out of your training and helping to best
prepare you to crush your next race & PR!

1-Practicing Supplementing & Nutrition

“Eat to Run, Don’t Run to Eat”
We talk about how nutrition is all the time and how we need to try to fuel our body
the best we can each week through our daily nutrition. This is more specific to timing
around your workouts. One thing each of you needs to be doing is practicing
supplementing in your workouts. Especially for those of you that are training for longer
distances like half marathons, marathons and ultras. You should start practicing your
supplementing like you would during a race. What I recommend is: 5-10 minutes before
the start of your workouts (Gu packet or supplements) along with every 10K/6 miles or
so on your run. This should be the same for your races. You should practice this during
your longer high intensity workout days along with your long runs. Not only to improve
your performance and get more out of your workout ,but to also make sure the
supplements work well for you on race day. We need to fuel our body to perform it’s
best during a workout along with best preparing it for race day. Also practicing your pre
race dinners and breakfast through out your training. This works great before your long
run or even before a harder workout. Try out different foods to fuel your workout along
with post workout nutrition. Make sure to get a good source of protein and carbs to
replenish your muscle glycogen and having the nutrients available to rebuild your
muscle and help your body to recover.

2- Good Warm Up & Cool Down

“Failing to Prepare, is Preparing to Fail”
Everyone needs a specific warm up that works best for them. This can be
different for everyone. Warm ups should be done on interval/higher intensity days of
training along with before a race. This should be the warm up that you know best helps
you get ready to run at your best. Also something else to not switch up too much on
race day. For workouts make sure to get a good 1-2 mile warm up in before starting
your workout. During your warm up, the first half you should ease into the pace and the
2nd half of the warm up you can start to push the pace slightly to get ready to run fast
for your workout/race. I have different warm ups for different training environments. If I am running on a treadmill, I ramp up the pace from an easy easy pace to just below my
threshold pace by ramping up the pace every 2 minutes for 2 miles. I then take a 5
minute break to stretch, get water, have a gu packet and mentally check myself into the
workout. If I am doing an outdoor workout or track workout, I typically keep my warm up pretty easy with slightly pushing the pace in the last couple laps to get my heart rate up. I then take a 5 minute break, stretch, grab water, have a gu packet and just before I
start into my workout I do 4X10-15 second strides to get my legs ready for the pace. For
me, this is what works best for me for my workouts and also for race day! Also doing a
light cool down after a workout helps to bring our body back to a resting state, flush out
the waste products from the workout while helping to maintain healthy muscle function
and overall to help our body to start recovering from the workout.

3- Focus on Effort

“To Give Anything Less Than Your Best is To Sacrifice the Gift”
Your workouts don’t need to be perfect. A lot of the details I am mentioning in this
article will help to continually help you to perform at your best & feel great from each
workout. What Ive noticed about runners is that if anything throws your workout off,
even if it’s running your last interval 5 seconds slower than you wanted, we suddenly
throw the workout away. Like everything we just put into the workout wasn’t good
enough and suddenly we are upset about the workout. First of all, be good to yourself.
You are only human & things happen. Secondly, no matter how well you want a workout
to go, it is tough to always nail your workout & paces. This comes through years of
experience. Instead of blaming yourself for what could have went better, take every
positive learning moment from that workout & then bring it to your next workout to do
better the next time around. Don’t forget about all of the hard work you just put in & try
to keep a positive mindset. Your body is making adaptation whether the workout went
perfectly or not and next time around it will only help you do that much better.

4-Reflect on Your Workouts

“Run Your Strengths & Train Your Weaknesses”
Just like focusing on effort, even if you workout goes perfect, reflect on your
workout! This only takes a few minutes. For days that go great or even better than you
expected, what did you do differently or what was your mindset going into that workout? Why do you think the workout went so well? And again if it didn’t go well, what are some things you brought into your run that day that didn’t serve you. What kept you from performing at your best?? Running is physical but also completely mental! We can mentally talk ourselves out of anything & when it comes to weekly training, mindset is everything. Especially when workouts gets tough. Train your mind to see the positive in your weaknesses to help turn these into your strengths. This will only help your workouts go better and improve your overall running performance.

5- Always Be Dressed Ready to Run

“Dress Up, Show Up & Never Give Up”
Being dressed ready to run is the first step to success in any workout! First of all,
be dressed for the weather! If it is freezing outside, I typically recommend dressing one
layer cold since you will warm up once you start running without over heating. If it is hot outside, wearing clothes that are going to keep you as cool as possible for the run. Also a big one for me is my running shoes! If I am doing a workout I wear a lighter training shoe (the shoes I race in or something similar). If I am doing a long run or easy recovery run I wear a softer cushioned shoe. This is not only a good way to allow your shoes to bring the cushion and support back into your shoes but also mentally to know that the shoes you are wearing is going to set the tone for the workout! Unless I am breaking shoes in or just trying them out, I always associate my shoes with the type of workout I am doing. It’s like when I am driving my mini cooper & I can either put it in “green mode” to save gas, efficiency & ease back or “speed mode” to push the pace & speed around. I honestly feel the difference and it completely changes my mindset depending on the shoes I am wearing. My lighter shoes I know I am training more for pace & speed. My heavier cushioned shoe I am focusing on nice & easy recovery running. Try having different shoes for different workouts! Honestly I think you will know the difference and know what I am talking about along with helping your running performance!

All of these things help to improve your weekly running performance along with bringing that much more purpose to your workouts! Also I want to make sure that you are getting the most out of the time you are putting into your workouts & training program! You should “train like you race” and no matter if you are doing an easy recovery run, a workout, a long run or a rest day, every day of the week should have purpose & you should do what you can to optimize your training to get closer to your running goals & dreams each and every damn day :).

5 Ways to Enhance Your Running Performance

5 Ways of Enhancing Your Running Performance

Being a runner and athlete, if you want to perform at your best and reach your full
potential you need to have a comprehensive approach to your program. Running
performance isn’t just about running and having the best training program. There are so
many factors that we must balance into our weekly routines to help us perform
at our best. There is only so much time during the week and sometimes just getting our
running in can be a challenge, but the more you can start implementing these 5 things
into your week, the better you will perform, the better you will feel, the more energy you
will have and just live an overall healthier lifestyle.

“Being a competitive runner, there is no way I can perform at my best if I am not taking care of myself. Each and every day I make decisions based on how it is going to affect my body and training.” -Coach Meghan

 5 Tips to Enhance Performance

 

1- Good Nutrition

Nutrition is all of the time! From when we wake up in the morning from when we go to
sleep at night, our body needs energy to fuel our day. Being an athlete, this becomes
that much more important to fuel our running performance and recovery! Pre workout
nutrition, during workout nutrition, post workout nutrition & just your everyday nutrition!

Reflection Questions:

  • What is your first meal of the day?
  • Do you have a routine when it comes to nutrition or
    does it vary from day to day?
  • Do you have a plan when it comes to weekly nutrition?

As athletes we need to “eat to run, not run to eat”. Our body’s need nutrient dense, real
foods with minimal processed ingredients and extra sugars. I recommend a good mix of
protein, healthy fats and healthy carbs with eat meal.
Do you ever think about what you are consuming and if it is something that is feeding
your body for performance or is it feeding inflammation, fatigued, muscle soreness &
inadequate recovery? When we start to look at our foods in a way of how is this going to
enhance my performance and recovery instead of since I just ran 10 miles, I can now
splurge on whatever I want, we start to notice how we recover better, perform better and overall just live better.
Nutrition is too complex to go into all of the details, but if this is an area that you struggle
with, there are plenty of resources along with small day to day changes you can start
making that will make a big difference to your running and overall healthy lifestyle.

 

 

2- Hydration

How important is water for our body? We can’t function without it. It is essential for life. It is critical that we replenish our water and stay hydrated. Being an athlete, we accelerate our fluid loss through our running and training. In our body, we are made of 60% water that is soaked up every day by our millions and millions of cells. The leaner you are, the more water you are going to carry since muscle is made of about 75% water. Water helps with transporting nutrients to our cells, regulating body temperature and is a lubricant for our joints. During exercise these are the consequences to % of total body
water lost:

  • At 0.5% it starts to put extra strain on our heart.
  • At 1% reduced aerobic endurance
  • At 3% reduced muscular endurance.
  • At 4% reduced muscle strength, motor skills & heat cramps
  • At 5% heat exhaustion, cramping, fatigue, reduced mental
    capacity.
  • At 6% physical exhaustion, heat stroke, coma
  • At 10%-20% Death.

Being even slightly dehydrated already starts to impact our performance. Imagine what
that is doing to your body while it is trying to perform at its best through your weekly
training. With spring finally here and summer heat on the way, planning our hydration is critical for our running performance and our day to day life. So make sure you are
getting plenty of fluids!!

3- Sleep & Recovery

  • How many hours of sleep do you get at night?
  • Do you feel rested through out the day and during the week?

We recommend 8 hours of sleep whenever possible. Our body and mind performs best when we sleep between the window of 10pm-6am. From 10pm- 2am, is our body’s physical repair. Growth hormone is typically released around 10:30pm to help our body recover from the wear and tear of the day. From 2am-6am is our body’s mental repair. This is the time when our body mentally refreshes to be able to take on the day. Also when we sleep, it gives our brain a chance to be cleansed through our cerebral spinal fluid. Did you know that our brain has its own lymphatic system to dispose of the wastes that build up from constantly working (since our brain never shuts off) but the only time this happens is when we sleep? I think it is fascinating, but fascinating or not it is absolutely critical that our brain and body gets the sleep it needs to refresh and re-energize to not only take on the day but to help enhance our
running performance and more importantly help us live through out the day!

Do you take the extra time to stretch, foam roll, massage, epsom salt baths, or just light
active to help your body recover?

All of these activities help our body to recovery. As much as you can work these activities into your day to day training or at minimum 3-4 days per week. I already talked about nutrition and hydration which are both essential to recovery, but the more we implement these other activities into our daily lives we can
live healthier, happier and get the most out of our recovery and running performance.

 

4- Strength Training

How many of you implement some type of strength training into your weekly training?
Strength training is critical for runners and has many benefits! It helps to improve
performance and prevents injury through strengthening your muscles and connective
tissues, improves neuromuscular coordination and power along with improving running
economy with enhanced coordination and stride efficiency. For some people it can be
intimidating go workout by themselves at the gym. Taking group classes like CrossFit,
Barre, Yoga, Pilates, etc can be a great addition to your weekly routine. Working with a
personal trainer or having a program set for your specific to your running goals gives
you flexibility to fit strength training into your weekly running schedule. As a runner there are a lot of exercises you can do with our body weight or minimal equipment that help with running performance. It also does not need to take a lot of time out of your weekly schedule to reap the benefits!

Anywhere from 15-30 minutes 2-3 times per week is even sufficient enough and will help to enhance performance and prevent injury. Take the time to fit strength training into your weekly routine and see the benefits it has for you
and enhancing your running performance!

 

5. Having a Plan & Goal Setting

  • How important is your running to you?
  • Another question, how important is your body to you?

For some people running is to stay in shape and to just live a healthier active
lifestyle through something they enjoy doing. For others they have very specific goals
and a timeline in which they would like to achieve them. For others they fall somewhere
right in the middle! No matter what your running goals are, it is always important to have a plan. Without some type of plan it is hard to improve your running performance no matter how big or small your goals are. Running isn’t just about training for a specific
race when it comes to performance. It is also just making sure that you are balancing
out your weekly training with easy and hard workout days at the right paces to enhance
your recovery, feel stronger, faster, more efficient and just to run better! To just live
better! With anything you do in life, the time you are putting into it, you want to know that it is just making you a better person from the inside out. It’s not just about running PRs, but for some it might be able losing weight, preventing heart disease and diabetes and just wanting to live healthier. Coming from a background of being a personal trainer, I worked with all ranges of clients from weight loss to performance to just feeling better everyday. So no matter what your goals are, it is always important to have a plan!

 
It is not just about performing better, but also just about living better.

Training & Getting Sick

At the first sign of any illness STOP 🛑 training!

Resting upfront will allow your immune system to have energy to fight off the bug. When you rest before you get sick, your body may fight the bug faster. If you continue to train through illness, you may take away energy from your body’s immune system & be forced to take multiple rest days later. Allowing yourself rest will get you back to 100% quicker than dragging it out and training at subpar levels.

 

Tips To Combat Your Cold

✅ SLEEP: Sleep is your BEST defense against illness. Just like muscles, your body recovers and repairs itself during sleep – so take naps, go to bed early. Sleep as much as you can in the first 24 hours.

✅ HYDRATE: Drinking water will speed up your recovery, especially if you are experiencing a fever. You are more at risk for dehydration which leads to bigger problems. Make sure to avoid sports drinks (too much sugar), juices, coffee and alcohol. Instead, sip on herbal tea, water, soup, pedialyte popsicles if you need electrolytes. Hydration also breaks up mucus if you have a cough.

✅ Load up on Vitamin C: There are Vitamins and supplements out there such as Emergen-C.  However, it is best to get Vitamin C through Whole Foods – oranges, sweet peppers, broccoli, etc. The nice thing about Vitamin C is that you can’t have too much since it is water soluble, your body excretes what it can’t use.


✅ Zicam/Zinc – there are mixed reviews on this, but I tend to think it helps – especially if you take at the first sign of illness. Studies have shown it cuts down duration and severity of cold. –

✅ Other REMEDIES – ⭐️Taking Apple Cider Vinegar ( With the Mother) with real lemon and honey twice a day in a glass of water. ⭐️Epsom Salt Baths⭐️Steam Showers. –

*NEVER run thru a fever – this can cause serious complications such as dehydration, higher fever, heart issues*

 

How/When to Return to Training:

✅ WHEN CAN YOU RETURN TO RUNNING? : You never want to dig yourself into a deeper hole. I recommend waiting until you feel okay, then add an additional day to be safe. Example: You are sick on Saturday, feel better on Monday, I would run on Tuesday. This ensures you are truly recovered.

✅ DO NOT TRY TO MAKE UP MISSED MILES OR WORKOUTS!: It is okay to miss a day or a week of training. Trying to play catch up, is not a good plan! I recommend your first run back being VERY easy and shorter than you’d like. Ex, if you have a 7 miler easy on the schedule, try 3 miles to see how your body does. With running, sometimes you don’t see the damage done until the next day, so give yourself some grace. –

✅ TAKE IT EASY! In line with the above, when you return, take it EASY!! A lot will depend on how many days you took off and what kind of illness you are dealing with. If you missed a day or two due to normal cold, you can probably do 2-3 easy days and then go back to your normal schedule. If you missed a couple days or over a week due to FLU or more serious illness, you will want to come back even more cautious. The FLU is a different beast than a cold and can really put you out for awhile, so I would recommend making sure you are fully recovered before returning and then taking up to 7-10 days of full of easy runs. However listening to your body will be KEY! So, if you need more easy runs – take them! You will be okay since you are maintaining your aerobic system, which is what most running events rely the MOST on! –

⭐️ LET US EASE YOUR MIND⭐️

👉🏻Missing 1-2 days will not result in fitness loss, no harm done. Jump back on the horse and keep moving forward. It can actually help with recovery

👉🏻 Missing 3-6 days, does not result in fitness loss. You may feel a little different because you are not used to resting for a week, but your fitness is still there.

👉🏻Missing 7-14 days is around the point where you might start losing some VERY MINOR fitness. We are taking 1-2 seconds per mile. Not a huge deal. You can gain fitness back faster than you think. Your health is number one

⭐️ TAKE CARE OF YOUR BOD⭐️

5 Reasons You Should Consider a Coach

For years, I was a stubborn runner. Well still a stubborn runner, but I know I can’t trust myself with my own training. Accountability is very important. For many runners, they spend years doing it on their own, but eventually get stuck unable to reach the next level. Getting stuck in a rut is common for many athletes, but working with a coach can help break down barriers. Working with a coach can transform your outlook on your training.

Even coaches have coaches! Coach Meghan Roth is a 2:47 marathoner & reports, ” having a coach has been one of the best running decisions I have ever made. The personal connection, support, accountability, motivation, taking the stress out of my training and just seeing better results. Building confidence in my own abilities in a way that I have never felt before and running stronger, faster, and more efficient in a direction on track to everything I have ever wanted for myself. There is nothing more empowering than working towards your dreams.”

5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Having a Coach.

 

  1. To Reach Your Full Potential: Each of us has unlimited potential in many areas of our lives. Some comes more natural to us, but mostly it is just putting in the time and hard work. Hard work brings out our talent. Having someone analyze your training from your starting point to reaching your goals and designing a customized program with a clear path on how you are going to get there, really helps to optimize your training and performance. Ultimately it makes the goals you set for yourself very realistic. Personally anything I am putting my time into and what to succeed at, I want to make sure that I have a clear path on how I am going to get there and see results.
  2. Hold You AccountableL Everyone needs some accountability from time to time. Each day brings new challenges and knowing that you have someone always there rooting for you and wanting to see you succeed, gives you the peace of mind that you are never alone with your training. No one is going to care as much about your training and goals as you do. Besides a coach. Having a coach that is completely invested in you and your running success helps to keep you on track, put the work in when sometimes life gets crazy and to give you that extra kick in your step when you need it the most.
  3. Takes the Stress Out of Your Training: This is so important. I am a coach, I love running and I am extremely competitive, but having a coach makes my training so much better! It takes any of the extra training stress out of my running and training. If I was coaching myself, I wouldn’t be able to decide which workout to do that day or I would customize it to what I was feeling that week and to what I “think” is going to improve my performance. Not necessarily what is going to push me to the next level. I would mentally drive myself crazy and I need all of my mental and physical readiness when it comes to my training! Having a coach tell me here are your workouts this week, this is going to be best for your current training and goals.. go run. Running should be fun without the extra stress of planning your own training. Also when someone is giving you training and you crush the workout, it makes it that much more gratifying and builds a sense of purpose and confidence that doesn’t come from you customizing your own workouts. For me it would only make me second guess if the training I was doing was really worth the time and effort in reaching my goals instead of just being excited to see my progress and overall just loving my running.
  4. Train Smarter Not Harder. Why put in extra effort and work to get the same or worse results? Just because you are working harder, doesn’t mean it is making you a better runner. Each of us wants to be successful and have a sense of purpose. No one likes to work there a** off to go nowhere or continue running is circles. Running is an art. You take the heart, passion & drive of a runner along with science of running to truly get the best results. Time is valuable and so are you. Knowing what workouts to do to get the best results is what each of us really wants. Take the guess work out of your training. Having a coach will make sure that you are doing the right paces, workouts, and balancing your weekly training to improve performance, enhance recovery, prevent injury and help you optimize your overall running in pursuit of reaching your goals.
  5. Focus On Your Other Day to Day Expertise: Not everyone is a running expert. Many people don’t choose to be. They choose to focus most of their day on other life long pursuits & careers that they want to be successful in. They want to become experts in other areas. Personally I love coaching and running. I love focusing my time and energy on how I can share my passion and running expertise with others to help them become successful with their running. I can talk about running all day long. For many they enjoy running and want to be successful at it, but just don’t have the extra time to spend on it. Time is money. Your time is valuable. You don’t need to spend the extra time figuring out how to best train yourself when you already have someone that can do that for you. Along with all of the benefits of having a coach in anything that you do. You don’t have to be a running expertise to be a successful runner. You just need to find someone you trust to do it for you.

 

Of course there are many reasons why you should consider having a coach, but these are 5 reasons of why you should! I know not everyone is going to have a coach, but once you see the priceless value that it brings to your running and life, you might consider it. I

f you want someone to be as invested in your crazy dreams as you are, then fill out our athlete consultation ==> www.run4prs.co – Join the Run4PRs team!

We would love to meet you and see how we can help you reach your running goals and dreams!

The Gray Zone

So let’s talk about the “Gray Zone” – what is it??

✅ I refer to the Gray Zone as the pace range that does not serve your training. The Gray Zone is typically a pace you can hit pretty easily. It’s tempting to hang out because it feels EASY. Your Gray Zone pace is usually faster than your easy pace, but slower than half marathon pace.

For most athletes, the Gray Zone falls somewhere between your Marathon Pace and Easy Pace.

For Example: Let’s say you have a 3:30 marathon PR around ~8:00 per mile. Most run coaches and online pace calculators would suggest an easy pace between 8:45-10:00 pace.

This example athlete has a ‘Gray Zone’ is that 8:00-8:30 pace range. It feels easy & is mainly aerobic, but it is not the optimal pace to run on your easy/recovery runs during a training cycle if you want to improve as an athlete.


👉🏻 The Gray Zone is just fast enough to impede your recovery from the harder quality days during the week. When you get caught running in the Gray Zone you are running at the fastest possible paces in the aerobic zone. Running at the fastest possible paces puts additional stress on the body. Why run 8:15 pace when running 9:15 pace will give you the same aerobic benefit? 8:15 pace would cause additional stress on the body because it is the higher end of your aerobic zone.

 

Each run has a PURPOSE! The purpose of easy running is to build your aerobic base and recovery from quality sessions. When you spent too much time in the gray zone, it can add unwanted additional stress to your training. Too much stress will be harder to hit paces on workout days. When workout days are compromised, the training plan is compromised! By avoiding the ‘gray zone’, you are able to keep your quality workouts quality. Quality workouts are important when you want to take your training to the next level

Many athletes unintentionally hang in the Gray Zone quite a bit. It can feel ‘weird’ to slow down. As athletes we are taught to push and stay outside of our comfort zone. Many athletes report that staying in the easy pace range feels like a ‘walk’ or it’s ‘too easy’. This is how is should feel. Easy running should be very minimal stress on the body and NOT feel like a hard or even moderate effort.

When we see athletes make this adjustments & stay out of the ‘Gray Zone’, we see they are able to breakthrough in their training because they keep their quality sessions HARD and are able to fully recover on easy days.

Training polarization: keeping the hard days hard and the easy days easy is the foundation for a successful running career. Spending too much time in the Gray Zone causes training to de-polarize. This de-polarization often allows athletes to maintain their fitness level. It can be challenging for an athlete who has been stuck on maintenance for 2 years to suddenly run slower on their easy days to allow them to recover between quality sessions. When an athlete implements these changes, we usually see big breakthroughs within 3-9 months depending on the athlete.-

⭐️ We challenge you:

Be Honest with Yourself: Are they TRULY easy or are you falling into the Gray Zone??

Easy pace should feel EASY. Almost like a walk! It is NOT the fastest or even moderate pace you can hang at and still be kinda comfortable.

There is a huge Big DIFFERENCE in those paces. The very slow running on easy days can be a tough change that requires athletes to trust the process and no ego.
It takes more self confidence and discipline to run slow than to run fast!

If you are worried about making the change and experimenting. Here are our tips:

  • Put your strava on private
  • don’t share your training
  • run with friends who are much slower than you on easy days
  • try running on the treadmill and watching netflix
  • run without music
  • Monitor your HR try to keep it below 150 😉

 

Trust the Process & have fun!

www.run4prs.co

info@run4prs.co

How many 20 mile long runs should you do in marathon training?

The most common questions that we hear when athletes start a marathon training cycle:

“How many 20 mile runs will I do before the race?”

“I need to run at least ‘X amount’ of 20 milers.”

“I need to run at least 22 miles or else how will I finish 26.2?.”

There is nothing magical about a 20 mile run.
Lets dig deeper…..
The most important thing to consider when training for anything would be individual differences. Every single person is different. Everyone has different natural ability, training experience and goals. You should train specific to your background! Not for someone else. There is such a thing as diminishing returns. That is the point where the training is no longer productive and is actually counter-productive. 

Benefits of Long Runs

Physiological benefits include :
  • Improved VO2 max
  • Adaptation to utilize fat
  • Increased muscle strength
  • Increased energy stores
Phycological benefit:
  • increased confidence in distance

Individualize Training

Upon starting a marathon training cycle, athletes have a different baseline. The 3 main factors to assess when beginning a program are weekly mileage, long runs, and paces.

Athlete A- 25 miles per week  12:00 pace w/ 8 mile long run (5 hours per week)

Athlete B-  30 miles per week at 10:00 pace w/ 10 mile long run (5 hours per week )

Athlete C- 45 miles per week at 8:00 pace w/ 13 mile long run (6 hours per week)

Athlete D- 80 miles per week at 7:00 pace w/ 18 mile long run (9 hours per week)

Each athlete will have a very different marathon training plan. You need to assess weekly mileage, paces, and long runs as the framework for your marathon training plans. These 3 factors are the most important!

1- Weekly Mileage: The 10% Rule

A widely accepted rule for mileage is to never increase by more than 10%. You never want to start a program that jumps your mileage drastically. Your risk for injuries like stress fractures jumps up with the volume increases. Your health and safety in a program is your number 1 priority. Slow and steady progressive overload wins.
If you are not currently running more than 25-35 miles per week at the start of marathon training, we will have usually increase both mileage AND long runs immediately. The more variables to work on, the more stress we will be putting on your body. The more stress, the more careful we need to be with training!
Athlete A would probably peak around 40 miles for marathon training
Athlete C would probably peak around 55-60s for marathon training
Increasing mileage is all about stress management. Give feedback to your coach and be honest with yourself. There is not a magic mileage number that will get you to XX marathon time.
We have coached athletes to 3:30 marathons who peaked at 38 miles per week and athlete who peaked at 65 miles per week. There is no right or wrong way. The right way is the way your body responds best to!
Potential Signs of ‘too much mileage’:
– Fatigue
– Insomnia
– Constant Heavy Legs
– Inability to hit paces
– Constant desire to do less
– Not improving

2- Long Run Duration: The 3 Hour Rule

Running long is a huge stress on your body. You must balance risk vs. reward. There is a point during a long run around 3-3.5 hours where the damage done actually outweighs the benefits. If you put that strain on your muscles and deplete them of fuel stores it is going to take time to recovery.

Running for 3 hours generally takes days or even a full week to recover completely from.  If every weekend you run 3+ hours and take a week to recover, you are never going to be ready for quality workout during the week.  

If there is too little recovery in between long runs the workouts will suffer. When we pile on too much stress without proper recovery, there will be no physiological benefit.

Runs of over 2 hours are proven to deplete the muscles of energy stores by up to 50%. These energy stores can take close to 72 hours to replenish. Image what a 3 hour run can do. 

Stress + Rest = Growth

There are many quality workouts outside of 20+ mile runs that make for a successful marathon. Steady States, medium long runs, thresholds, tempos, strength workouts, etc. If we focus too much on trying to run for 3+ hours on the weekend, we will not be able to recover on time for the other key workouts in training. We are all about optimizing training for the best results.

Doing too much is when Injuries Happen

Long repetitive bouts of exercise cause micro tears in the muscles the longer you run the more muscular damage you will have. Therefore, the longer you run, the longer it will take to recover.  So if you run too long on Sunday it can set back your entire next week of training. There has to be a balance! 

Physiologically there is not a huge difference between 18 and 20 miles (assuming you are over the 120 minute mark). 20 min could be the difference between getting injured or stay healthy. 
Would 20 minutes of running that could potentially injury you be worth the extra confidence boost?

3- Long Run Volume: The 30% Guideline

 A widely accepted rule is that the long run should not exceed 25-30% of your weekly mileage. That can be difficult if you are running 30 miles a week in a marathon training cycle. That would put your longest long run at 10 miles. In this case you would usually first want to build your overall weekly mileage and then increase the long run as you go. Since there is limited time involved in a training cycle, we will have to be careful which you increase. Risk vs reward.
Long runs are hard on the body. The longer you go the more toll it takes out of your body. The goal is that each week is an accumulation of work. You want your long run to simulate the end of your race- not the beginning of the race! After a week of running and a few quality workouts your legs will be a little fatigued, so the long run makes it a great chance to practice running on tired legs and being mentally strong to complete the distance! 
What we don’t want to happen is for a weekly long run to be 50% of your weekly mileage. Athletes will likely take extra time off to recover from this run only to repeat the cycle the following weekend. We want to focus on the week as a whole not just the Sunday long run.

PACES ON LONG RUNS

Another common question:
Why can’t I do all my long runs at marathon pace (MP)?
That is another way to push past that line into overtraining zone.
The faster you run the more muscular damage you cause your body!
If you were to run every long run at marathon pace you are simply delaying your recovery and pushing back the next day that you can get a quality workout in.
Marathon pace is aerobic. Easy running is aerobic. You are stressing the same system to get the same physiological response. Marathon pace is much harder on your body physically, so it increases your risk for potential injuries by running at it ‘all the time’.
For Experienced Runners: It is a great idea to be progressive or to mix in some quicker miles or to finish strong
DO NOT LEAVE YOUR RACE IN A LONG RUN. You do not need to run your long runs at marathon pace to be able to do so on race day. 

Run4PRs approach

We advocate for the long run to be determined by where the individual is in their training. We usually to cap the long run around 3 hours with some exceptions around 3.5 hours max. It will depend on how previous training has been too. A new runner with a previous long run of 60-90 minutes would not want to jump up to run 2.5-3 hours right away. It would be more detrimental that beneficial.
It is also important to remember that training is not written in stone. There is always room for adjustment. If you have a 16 mile run that is a real struggle it doesn’t make sense to run 18 miles just to check it off. It would make more sense to run another 16 mile run and find success. You have to be willing to adapt!
So next time your mailman asks you why you are not running five 20 mile runs at MP so that you can practice it. Just say you are training for YOUR race!!

4 Types of Workouts that Improve your Running

It is always fun to try to improve yourself. Running is a great sport because it allows you to see concrete improvements in race times as you get faster. Once you get a taste of success, you keep coming back! Here are some of our favorite workouts to incorporate to get faster & how to do them!

Easy runs are the corner stone of all training plans. We recommend 80% of your weekly mileage be done at a pace 90-150 seconds per mile slower than a recent 5k race pace.

1- Strides/Super Speed

Most long distance runner’s do not spend any time at these top speeds. This type of workout will be done at your 1 mile pace or faster.

Short bouts of speed to trigger muscle recruitment and connections in the brain. By creating & strengthening the connections from the brain to the muscles, your body will be able to activate more muscle fibers in future workouts.

The benefit will keep an athlete sharp and training to their full potential by recruiting as much of the muscle fibers as possible. These strides are often ignored by athletes but play an important role in the brain/muscle connection gateway! Focus on form and power.

How to: 100-200 meters at faster than 5k pace with a full 2+ min recovery between

When to:  The day(s) before a workout or race after an easy run, during offseason, before a workout sessions begins

2- VO2MAX 

These workouts build strength AND speed. These are the types of workouts most runners think of when they picture ‘speed work’ (800s, 1000s, 400s).

These are intense workouts and cause major stress on the body. Full recovery is required for days after to allow for adaptions and recovery too occur.

How to: 1-5 min intervals of work around 5k-10k pace ranges with 2-3 min recovery between. These can also be done as hill work stressing the same system at 5k-10k effort.

When to: If you are gearing up for a 5k or 10k these will be a weekly occurrence. In the thick of marathon training, these may trim down to allow room for other workouts that are more marathon specific.

3-  Threshold Runs

Running at Threshold trains the cardiovascular & muscular system to utilize oxygen while simultaneously removing waste products such as carbon dioxide & lactic acid (image a bath running with the drain open.  If you run ‘faster’ than your body can remove the waste, then you are defeating the purpose of the tempo run. We want to “toe the line”. It’s like black jack- you it’s better to be a little under pace than over! 

You can read more about tempos/threshold here

How to: Threshold is usually the pace you can race at for 60 min. Most runners it’s around 20-30 seconds slower than their 5k pace. We have longer intervals here with shorter rest. Shorter rest allows us to stress the correct system and get a better benefit. If you need longer rest between or cannot hit the pace, chances are you are not running at your correct threshold pace. You also do not want to ‘race’ these workouts. After every mile, you should feel you can speed up by 20 seconds per mile if you were racing.

Examples of threshold workouts:

5 x 1 mile with 60 seconds rest

2 x 15-20 min with 120-60 seconds rest

When to: Thresholds are great sessions for mid-distance through marathon distance. One threshold session per week is great.

4- Long Runs

Long runs develop an increase in capillary networks from the lungs & leg muscles. This means blood & oxygen can be transported better, so you can use the oxygen more efficiently. Running is an aerobic sport and the long run stresses your aerobic system.

You can read more about the benefits of long runs here

How to: Most long runs should be between 25-30% of your weekly mileage. If you are running 25 miles per week, you can get an idea for how long your long run should be by (25 * 30%= 7.5 miles). It is best to not run over 33% of your weekly mileage in one run to reduce the chance of injury. If you do a lot of aerobic cross training (biking, swimming, elliptical) & have a strong background in the sport, you may be able to get away with a different long run %. Long runs should be done at an aerobic pace or ‘easy’ pace.

What about marathon pace long runs?

Marathon pace is an aerobic pace. It is near the top end of your aerobic paces. The faster you run the higher the intensity. Long runs already put a significant amount of stress on the body. Adding in an additional high intensity effort around marathon pace adds additional stress. This is great for very experienced runners working on racing a marathon. Even then, most plans will not do more than 6-10 marathon pace miles within a 16-20 mile long run. Each athlete is different. Make sure you follow a plan that makes sense for you!

 

Tips to Qualify for the Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon is the ‘holy grail’ of the running world. It is the oldest annual footrace. It is held on Patriots day every year in April. It is a point to point course running from the small town of Hopkinton to downtown Boston. Along the way you face the famous ‘heartbreak hill’ at mile 21. The race has a rich history, and it draws in around 30,000 runners every year.

You Must Qualify or Raise Money for Charity

Qualifying for Boston in itself is a major accomplishment. The standards are not easy and require most athletes years or decades of commitment to the sport.

Women 18-34 must run 26.2 miles at 8:00 pace or faster to qualify

Men 18-34 must run 26.2 miles at 6:52 pace or faster to qualify.

To give you more of an idea just how quick that is, the ‘average marathoner’ per goggle search runs about 4:47 (26.2 miles at 11:00 pace) for women & 4:22 (26.2 miles at 10:00 pace) for men.

Most people who qualify for Boston have a life commitment to the sport.

It is the mindset of a lifelong journey that enables them to reach a higher level to eventually BQ and hit their potential in the sport.

The joy is in the journey NOT the destination.

 

Our Boston Qualified Athletes & Coaches Tips:

  • Try not to hyper focus on the time goal or put too much pressure on yourself. Always train for and race at the fitness level you are at. You will get to the destination eventually if you are committed to becoming the best you can be. Try to enjoy the process along the way. Running should be something you enjoy doing. Boston is an added Boston once you get there it is a celebration of years of hard work.
  •  Don’t get hung up on what other people are doing/ compare ect on strava. I’ve been there. Just because somebody is running doubles every day and 105 miles a week you don’t have to. (They will probably shortly burn out anyways lol) Alternatively if somebody is doing 6 workouts a week and you run best off one then do what works for you! (Again they will prob shortly burn out)
    (Something I’ve recently just learnt!) and take negative comments with a pinch of salt. (I’ve been wound up like crazy in the past by them!)
  • There are going to be so many obstacles. Your training won’t go perfectly. None of that matters as long as you are diligent and keep pushing forward. With every race I make a game time decision during the beginning and assess where I think I am that day, because no matter how hard you prepare, you might not be ready that particular day. Learn to be ok with that. Don’t try to force it. The moment I let go was the moment I got mine. I just had to learn to trust myself.
  • Just put your head down and do the work! There really is no secret. Take your easy days easy so you can run those long tempo runs correctly. Try not to expend mental energy by wondering if you are doing enough, if you should have done another speed day last week, should have ran 2 20 milers instead of 1, etc. Enjoy the process, that’s when runners have their breakthroughs!
  • Trust your training and DO THE WORK. It’s not going to be easy. You’re going to have bad workouts and obstacles that you’ll face but always remember why you’re doing it. Have fun with the process. Watch yourself get faster and fall in love with running all over again. Also, don’t get discouraged if you don’t qualify on your first attempt. You’re not the only one and it’s hard to get in for a reason. Always always remember though that you CAN do it. Anything is possible
  • Consistency is key. You have to find a plan and stick to it. Another thing I learned along the way was that just bc you can do something doesn’t mean that you should. I used to run all of my workouts way too fast for the goal that I was training for. Set your goal, find a pace calculator(or a wonderful run4pr’s coach) and stick to the paces. Also, sloooooow Down. My husband runs sub 3 marathons and does his recovery days with me at an 8:30 sometimes 9 minute pace. I ran 3:24 in Indy and do recovery miles on the treadmill at 10 minute pace. It’s active recovery. Treat is as such! Do the work, be patient, enjoy the journey, and you will get there
  • Believe in yourself! Everything that you need to qualify is already within you. It might take some time, but all good things take time and patience. The journey to get there says so much more about your abilities than the race itself. Try to find the joy in the daily grind, knowing that those days will add up to something extraordinary. Lastly, don’t get caught up in the really great days or the really bad ones. Keep moving forward – you can and you will catch that
  • I recommend having a game plan, sticking to it, and monitoring how you are truly feeling during the race.

    It is really easy to ignore the signals your body is giving you or starting out way too fast trying to muscle through because you want to hit the qualifying time so badly.

    Trust the training, trust the race plan, and let go of any attachment to the outcome and the chips will fall into place!

 

 

 

 

Benefits of Aerobic Cross Training

Running is an aerobic sport. In order to become faster/stronger runners we must work on our aerobic system. To improve any system, we must stress it using a progressive overload. 

In addition to being an aerobic sport, running is also very high impact. During a run your body takes on the force of your body weight over and over with each step. Because the intensity of running is so high, we must be very careful with how quickly we increase the running stimuli or else injury may occur.

Most experienced runners have experienced a flare up or injury at some point in their career. Many injuries can be healed with PT and rest. 

How to manage building an aerobic base running while avoiding injuries?

First we will want to find your mileage ‘sweet spot’: you can read more about that here

Then we might consider if aerobic cross training is a good fit for you. 

What is the best Aerobic Cross Training?

1- Something that mimics closely the motion of running

2- Something that works your aerobic system (also known as a ‘cardio’ workout)

3- Something low or no impact

The activities most commonly & best used for aerobic cross training for running:

1- Biking

2- Elliptical

3- Walking

4- Stair Master

5- Swimming

6- Aqua Jogging

7- Rowing

1- You are a New to Running

When you first start running, your body will need lots of time to adapt to the high impact. It will be important to not increase running mileage too quickly! In this case, aerobic cross training is a great option because we can stress your aerobic system without the high impact of running. 

How to Add: Start with a 20-30 min session 1x per week and see how you feel with the adjustment. You can continue to build on this and/or in the future turn these days into running days as you build milage.

2- Lower Mileage Sweet Spot

Maybe you have been running for many years, but you find responds best with only 4-5 days of running per week. Every runner is different! Some bodies respond better to less mileage running. Running is a high impact sport. Cross training is a great option to build your aerobic base without the high impact of running. We often see this approach with masters runners and other athletes who have a history with injury even with proper training. 

How to Add: If you are feeling burnt out from running & want to try this approach, axe one of your easy runs per week and convert it to a cross training session for the same duration. See how your body responds. Lots of this is experimenting with what works best for the individual

3- Flare ups/Injury

Almost all experienced runners have had a minor injury or flare up over the course of their running career. When under a doctor or PTs care, they may recommend or allow you to participate in aerobic non-impact activities. The aerobic cross training will never replace running completely, but it is something you can do to help maintain aerobic fitness & sanity during a layoff period.

How to Add: Consult with your doctor or PT with what activities at what volume level are okay for you!

4- COMING BACK FROM TIME OFF

Childbirth, injury, surgery, travel, burnout & pro-longed breaks may require an athlete to take extended time off from training. If you find that you are in a position where you are coming back from time off, it is VERY important to ramp up SLOWLY. You will want to begin similar to if you are a beginning. During this phase, athletes might be antsy to add in more mileage. Be careful as risk for injury is highest during this time! Cross Training can help lower that risk of injury

How To Add: Running or run/walking every other day or every 3rd day is a nice approach. Keep the mileage and effort low during a build back time. On the in-between days a short aerobic cross training session of 30-40 min is a great option. Build slowly and convert cross training days into running days over the course of a few months.

Cross training is a great way to build or maintain your aerobic base to help you become a stronger runner! Running is a high impact activity. Sometimes the lower impact alternatives can help us maintain balance finding a sweet spot with our training. Consistency and injury prevention are key to finding success with running!

If you have any questions or want to chat more about how aerobic cross training fits in with your training plan, send us an e-mail at info@run4prs.co

How Do You Run in The Cold?!

We are located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. From November-February negative temperatures are very normal. Ice, snow, sub-zero temps don’t stop us from getting out there and running. Month after month, we just don’t want to spend another day on the dreaded treadmill. Many of us opt to get outside even in the single digits!

 

IMG_0930

If you are looking for brave the cold weather, here are the tips you need to know.

 

1- Get used to checking the weather & windchill

Know what you are dealing with! Winds over 10 mph will feel terrible in the cold. On those days it will be important to brace yourself for the wind.

Did it snow the day before? We need to know these facts before we get started!

 

2- Dress in layers

It is always better to have extra layers to take off than not having enough on. Everyone has their own tolerance for weather.

You want to have your inner most layer be the tightest and lightest. A tighter fitted long sleeve as your first layer will keep you warmer than a loose fitting one. Tucking in your short will also help preserving your core temp.

  • First Layer is tight, light, and tucked in!

The next layer we will want to be thicker. Bonus points if it covers your neck! Zip ups made for winter running work great for this second layer.

  • Second Layer: thicker & neck coverage!

Depending on the temperature and wind, you might add on a wind breaker jacket as your outter shell. Typically above 20 degrees f, this is not needed.

  • Third Layer: Under 20f grab a wind breaker jacket!

Winter running tights are a great option from 40-25 degrees. When the wind is bad or the temps are below 20, most athletes complain about legs going numb. In this case doubling up with tights OR purchasing WIND RESISTANT TIGHTS will be a game changer (be prepared to fork over the cash for these).

 

3- Hats and Gloves

A lot of this is trial and error. Headbands and hats are a must under 35 degrees. Gloves are the hardest to find. Over 35 degrees most gloves will be okay, but once the temps get lower, many athletes complain about their hands going numb! In this case, be prepared to pull out your pocket book and fork over more money for something like this. 

If your hands get numb regularly and it bothers you, I would make the investment in mittens like those 🙂

Neck warmers and face masks are also something that come in handy on the sub 0 days.

 

IMG_0932

 

4- Finding a place with optimal footing

Did it snow more than 1-2 inches yesterday? Chances are your lovely neighborhood and city did NOT shovel all the sidewalks you are used to running on. Your first winter running will be a learning curve. There are certain areas of Minneapolis that NEVER get the sidewalks plowed, but there are certain trails that ALWAYS get plowed. Know your area!

Are their any major parks that are used during the winter months? Scope those out after a snowfall to see the footing.

Chain of Lakes in Minneapolis is always plowed. However, after an ice storm, you will have to be careful with ice.

5- Ice is the biggest problem

It’s all fun and games until someone slips on ice. This is where you need to be the most careful.

Days when Ice will be the worst:

  • Cold day AFTER a sunny 30+ degree day where snow melted then froze overnight
  • Day AFTER freezing rain
  • Day after a ‘snow’ when the temperature was in the 30s.
  • The week following an of these events

WATCH OUT FOR BLACK ICE OR COVERED ICE. Often, you will not see the ice because it is black or covered by snow. You need to be extremely careful and always watch your footing when there is ice around.

You will want to avoid the days when ice is bad. If you have a workout: do it inside, move it, or cancel it. You are not going anywhere fast when there is ice on the ground.

 

6- Winter Running Shoes

If you live in an area that snows/has ice take yourself to the local running store to find a pair of winter running shoes. Theres shoes are made like trail shoes with gortex material to keep them dry AND have a supportive bottom to help you not slip on ice.

Yak Tracks are also very popular you can attach to the bottom of your shoe!

You will need to look into these options if you want to run in the snow or ice.

 

7- Be prepared to slow down and modify 

Sub 20 degrees is not the day to try to go after a PR. Your muscles do not work as well when they are cold. Many athletes find doing easy runs outside during the winter is the best option. Running under marathon pace can be a struggle with the ice and the legs being cold. Treadmill is always a great option on workout days to keep fit and be safe.

8- But isn’t it cold?

Yes! It is cold! If you continue running and keep your core temp up with the exercise, you will stay relatively warm and be okay!

It is normal to still feel uncomfortable when it is cold outside. I personally do not find running in under 20 degrees enjoyable.

If you find you are coughing a lot after a run outside, consider slowing down your pace and going at an easy effort.

 

Good luck with your winter running! Feel free to reach out to the coaches with any questions! Info@run4prs.co