Smarter, Stronger Runs:  Pick Ups

As a coach, I love using pick ups to introduce speed work to athletes.  Whether I am working with a new runner to build endurance and strength or an experienced runner preparing to start a longer training cycle, pick ups are great for all runners.

When I mention speed work, most runners assume track workouts.  That is hardly the case.  Track work can be intimidating for newer runners, boring for experienced runners.  There are a few outliers who love the track – hooray for them – and by all means can complete pick up workouts there.

Personally, I love the track for interval workouts, but find my happy place for all other workouts on roads and trails.  Plus, my races do not occur on a track.  I try to train on the surfaces that closely mimic race conditions (surface and elevation).  Continue reading

How to Execute Quality Speed Work

When planning for success, the focus tends to rest on the what and the how.  For example, when we set running goals, we – or a coach – create detailed plans on what type of training to perform and how to run each individual workout.

When it comes to speed work, also known as intervals, attention to small details builds mental confidence while minimizing mistakes.

What is the most common mistake in an interval workout?  Starting out too fast.

Every runner can be fast at the start.

Only the smart runner is fast at the end.

Continue reading

Inclement Weather: How to Protect Technology

IThe rain and fog have returned to the Pacific Northwest after a mostly pleasant fall and winter.  Its rain where you are soaked once you step out the door.

I grew up training in these weather conditions.  When you don’t know any different, you naturally adapt and get on with training.  However, after seven moves to different geographic locations, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks to protecting my technology – smartphone and key FOB – from water and sweat damage.

Here’s what I know for certain.  Ziploc bags are a necessity. Continue reading

Race Day Preparation: The Marathon Taper    

After many weeks and months of base building and marathon-specific training, runners tend to be overly excited to reach the taper phase of training.  Yes, the decrease in work load sounds lovely after completing the last long run three weeks prior to race day.  However, the last few weeks before stepping up to the start line can be filled with anxiety.  Here’s what I know from experience, and from that of many friends and clients; the taper can be a time of struggle.

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Race Day Preparation: Logistics

After spending a large amount of time training for race day, it is easy to forget to consider race day logistics.  As race day approaches, the last thing I want my runners to be concerned about is race day logistics.  These are the small details that make race day run smoothly, for you and your support crew.  Race websites and Facebook pages are great sources of information.  Begin there for your race day logistics planning.

Tackle these early so you can focus on your race plan execution. Continue reading

The Value of Training Partners

By Kelly Propst

The act of running can be done solo. Granted, to compete, you need others to run against. But to train, a runner needs only him/herself to go out, hit the ground and cover some miles. This sheer fact makes running extremely appealing to many individuals. And while quality training can be carried out by a solo runner under their own tutelage, immense value can be added by training with a partner. Just as both measurable and immeasurable gains can be made by training under the guidance of a coach. For the purpose of this short article, the ways in which a training partner can be of value will be addressed. Continue reading

RUNNING GEAR: The Essentials and more

As a military spouse, I’ve had the opportunity to live in diverse geographic locations – Texas, Kansas, Alaska, Germany, North Carolina, and Washington State – accumulating an assorted collection of running gear.  I am well equipped to run in a wide spectrum of weather conditions.

A good running wardrobe is the result of gradual accumulation.  Items have been purchased as a need was identified.  When I have the right gear for my current weather conditions, I can focus my mental energy on executing a great run.  That’s what is most important. Continue reading

Why You Should Hire a Coach

Call me slightly biased, but I believe that all runners can benefit from a coach.  Most runners are intelligent, self-motivated, and enthusiastic by nature.  In fact, many runners are quite knowledgeable about the science of running through books, magazines, websites, and personal experience.  So why invest in a running coach?  Runners can benefit from a positive coaching experience – here are some of the reasons to hire a coach. Continue reading