Training for the Boston Marathon

I spent the past four weeks building up mileage to get ready for this day.  This is the day that I started training for the 2016 Boston Marathon.  The goal for this training cycle is to train smarter and get stronger to have the race of my life.

Last year I was just happy to be there in Boston.  I trained, but never dove into the strength work as much as I should have.  The result was a sluggish race with a tight glute that turned into a hip flexor issue halfway through the race.  Add to that the 40 degrees, 30 mph headwind and the driving rain and it made for a not so fun day.  Don’t get me wrong, the experience of the weekend and race was better than I expected.  It would have been nice to run well.

I recently passed my NASM Certified Personal Trainer exam and studying for that reinforced why I needed to strength train to be able to add mileage injury free.  I started from inside out, working on core stabilization.  That seems to have made an impact on my efficiency when running.  I also worked hard on concentrating on my running form.  I’ll continue to strengthen my body to withstand the increase in mileage I’m about to add.

The past two Mondays I have run 16 miles each time.  Last week it was an easy paced but hilly run to get to where I wanted to be as far as mileage.  Today the plan called for 12 of the 16 miles to be run at marathon pace.  Using my spreadsheet that has enable me to dial in the right training paces for the past few years I set out in the humid air.  I nailed the workout averaging less than .2 seconds per mile faster than the goal pace.  I don’t think I’ve ever nailed a workout that close even in mid training, let alone on day one.

To say that this gives me confidence that I am going to have a great training cycle is an understatement.  I believe the strength training and slow build up of weekly mileage has set me up in a good way.  Mentally I am all in this time.  It’s amazing what your mind enables you to do if it’s in the right frame.  Today I went out knowing I would nail my workout and I did.  I never got sore or tight anywhere as opposed to previous training cycles where I would struggle to finish the first few weeks of tough workouts.

For those of you that follow where I’m racing, in late January I’ll do a test race, the Celebration Half Marathon.  I have another continuing education course, Flexible Movement Systems, I’ll use for my coaching business and it’s near Clearwater the weekend before the race so I thought I’d stick around the warmer climate in January.  I’m also scheduled to run the New York City Half Marathon in March which will be a perfect way to start my taper towards marathon day.

If you’ve got a big race this next year, please give me a chance to train you.  Contact me to get it started or ask questions!

 

 

As featured on a local ‘find a professional’ website

Personal Running Coach Services

Provided by: Run Your Best Race, LLC

What do you love about your job?

The best thing about my job is seeing people meet their goals and getting to share in the happiness that it brings them. I also love getting to know people who want to be fit, get better at running, or do something that makes them feel great about themselves. Happy people make a happy world. Personally, it doesn’t feel like a job because I am doing what I love to do.

What or who inspired you to start your own business?

An anonymous person actually inspired me. I was on a social website that I was using to track my calories in an effort to lose weight and support fitness. One of the forums was about running, and there was a “coach” on the site telling people they couldn’t do this or that and scaring people from trying to reach new levels of running. I’m sure she was just trying to caution people from getting hurt, but she was communicating poorly. I chatted with one of the people she was trying to caution, and I ended up working with this person via email and got her to her goal. I then went out and got certified to be a running coach and then started my business. It was the greatest feeling helping that runner get to finish a race that her family was also doing and feeling the gratitude in her messages to me about that accomplishment.

Describe your most memorable project.

I took a runner who never ran more than a couple of miles and trained her online to finish a half marathon in just four months. Everyone else told her she was trying the impossible, but I think I made her believe she could do it. She still runs today, six years later.

I Love My Job

Yesterday was the inaugural OctoHalf Half Marathon.  It was organized, timed, and run by the best in business, by far in my opinion, ACT Sports Management.  A group of people that understand what runners want to see at a race, and who care about every runner from first to the person who crosses the finish line last.

I really try to do the same with my coaching business.  That’s my goal, anyway.  I am also hoping that’s why ACT Sports Management asked me to be the “official coach” of the race.  I offered two types of training for the race, online and a group “learn the course while we train” method.  I ended up coaching 6 awesome runners.

When I first started coaching, my first group class was through the North Penn School District’s Community Education Program.  I had about 25-30 people sign up for a beginner’s running class that took people who have never run before and taught them to run enough to finish a 5K in 8 weeks.  I am still coaching several runners from that first class.  Some of them are doing half and full marathons now.  That was only 4 1/2 years ago.  One did a half marathon the year after she came through the beginners class.

The first class ended with a 5K, which 10-15 of the class members had the time to run.  All of them finished that race that day, many took home age group awards for placing first through third in their age group.  What hit me that day was two things.  As a coach I never got to meet their families while we trained.  They were the supporting cast for their desire to get healthier and finish a 5K.  But that day I got to see how proud their spouses and children were of their accomplishments. That really made me happy.  I never forgot how that felt.  I said to myself that day “that is why I do this.”  The second thing was seeing how much finishing that class, that 5K, meant to each one of those runners. Words cannot describe the feelings I had that day as each of my running “students” crossed that finish line.  It cemented the decision I made to start up this coaching business.

To me, a hug or a warm handshake makes me feel like someone cares about me.  It feels better than anyone handing me a trophy for crossing a finish line first.  It sends a chill through my body that says “I really appreciate you”.  For my personality a hug works better than anything spoken, written, or better than any drug could possibly make me feel.  I remember hugs or meaningful handshakes forever.  I remember from that first class, that I got dozens of them.  From my students to their spouses.  The feeling that every one of them appreciated my role in their accomplishment sent me home that day feeling like I was in the clouds.

Yesterday it was a half marathon instead of a 5K.  It, however, ended with the same feeling of euphoria.  Watching families and friends of the runners I trained for this race and seeing how happy they were sent chills through my body that I will never forget.  It is why I do this.  Sometimes I never see or hear from one of my runners again.  I understand.  I did my job and while I get attached to each and every one of them I can’t take them all home with me.  I do see and hear from most of them and continue to coach a lot of the original gang of runners.  My circle of runners is growing.  And I love every one of them.

I love my job!

Want To Change Your Life?

Are you happy with your current condition of health?  Do you worry about not being able to take care of yourself or your family because you might develop a chronic illness?  Did you know that daily living activities are limited for at least 25% of those diagnosed with a chronic health condition?

Chronic health conditions also account for over 70% of deaths in the United States.  Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause. Associated many times with cardiovascular disease is obesity and being overweight.  This causes other conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes, osteoarthritis, some types of cancer, shortened life expectancy, and a decreased quality of life.

Why are more Americans overweight or suffering from some chronic illness?  Advanced technology is a leading cause. Addiction to TV programs, video games, and leisure time on computers cause us to sit idle more than ever.  Our posture suffers from sitting so much causing low back pain.  80% of us suffer from low back pain in our lives.

It’s also important to stay healthy even if you are already in top shape.

So how do we reverse this trend and get or stay healthy?  Nutrition is important.  Getting outside and exercising is also critical.

Running is one of the best and easiest means of using the outdoors to get or stay fit.  Running, easy?  Sure if you learn how to correctly.  Allow me to show you how!

OK, you already work hard at fitness and you already run.  Has anyone ever showed you the best way to train? Do you sign up for races so that you have a goal and continue to run?  Would you like to get better at running? Would you be happier if you did get better at running?  If you are like me, when I’m happy it spreads to everyone around me or anyone who comes in contact with me.  I’m much more positive, feel better, have more energy, and people talk to me back in a more positive manner.

Running can change your life! That’s not an exaggeration.  Ask anyone who had the courage to make the move and start running.  I’ve lost count on how many people have told me that running changed their life.  It lowered their blood pressure, made them happy again, made them more self confident, raised their self-esteem, made their relationships better, and so many other positive comments.

Then I hear the excuses.  I can’t run because my knees are bad or I don’t want to ruin my knees.  Running correctly helps your knees!  Fact!  Or the big one, I don’t have time! Wow, I cringe at that one the most.  Yes, we lead busy lives.  You have 4 small children and your spouse is always working late or out of town on business, or I don’t have a spouse so who will watch my children?  I work long hours then have to go home and feed everyone and it’s dark out when I possibly could work out.

To this I just say, “Where are your priorities?” Is your life not important?  Would your family suffer from you being chronically ill, disabled, or worse, gone?  Have you ever flown on an airplane somewhere?  I’m betting a vast majority of you have.  When you start to pull away from the gate, the flight attendant goes through their safety speech as required by law. What do they say?  One thing is , “if we suddenly lose air pressure the oxygen masks will automatically drop.  If you are travelling with small children, put your mask on first, then assist them.”  Why?  Because if you pass out you can’t help them!  The same goes with the rest of your life, not just in an airplane.  If you don’t take care of yourself, how can you help someone else?

Learn how to run the right way!  Whether it’s to start running and get healthy, improve your running, or to become really good at running.  I’m your man!  I can change your life!  You don’t even have to live by me.  I can help you no matter where you live in the world!  Ask anyone who has worked with me before.  Your life should be the highest priority!  Improve the quality of your life. Smile again!  Feel great about yourself!  Contact me!  runyourbestrace@gmail.com 

What You Have To Give Up To Live A Healthy Lifestyle

I saw this posted on the RRCA certified coaches’ Facebook page and thought I’d share:

What did I give up to start living a healthy lifestyle and start running?

I had to give up feeling like crap all the time
I had to give up hating myself when I looked in the mirror
I had to give up feeling like I was going to have a heart attack after climbing stairs
I had to give up wondering if I was going to live to see 50
I had to give up self doubt
I had to give up high cholesterol and triglycerides
I had to give up weakness and fear.
I had to give up buying expensive, ugly clothes because they were the only ones in my size.

I had to give up hiding behind something when getting my picture taken.
I had to give up getting sick a lot.
I had to give up shortness of breath just tying my shoes.
I had to give up sleep apnea.
I had to give up scaring my wife because I quit breathing while I slept

I had to give up not having much of a future

and worst of all…..

I had to give up giving up.

yup, I lost a lot in this journey… poor me.

I look at what an unhealthy lifestyle did to me and how much i was robbed of my life, it looks like I lost the bad and adopted the best thing going.

Quit…and do what? Go back to “normal”? Normal is what got me to where I was.

That kind of living is totally abnormal to me now and there is no going back. I love my new life.

It may seem like a sacrifice now, but the payoff is huge. After a while, you will look back and laugh at what you thought was such a big thing that you had to give up and it really wasn’t a loss at all.

You have everything to gain and nothing to lose..

Go for a run, you wont miss a thing……

I promise…

-Robert Wadhams

Thinking About Hiring A Running Coach?

You’ve read all of the articles in Runner’s World, Running Times, on running websites and Facebook pages.  Yes, having a running coach helps tremendously in your quest to improve your running.  Even if the goal is to enjoy running more, a coach can help.

If the coach is like me, he or she will be certified (I am through the Road Runners Club of America), will take the time to do a detailed analysis of your strengths and weaknesses, and from learning all about your running habits and goals, create a plan to get you going on that journey.

No one has ever achieved greatness on their own.  Did you change your own diaper when you were a baby?  Sounds disgusting but you get my point.  Leave your comfort zone.  Hire a coach.

“Oh it’s too expensive!”  You probably will be surprised how you can’t afford not to hire a coach if you really want to get better at running or improve your fitness.  Talk to me about your goals and limitations and I can help find the right way to go about this.  How much money do you waste on things that are actually taking you farther away from your goal?  Bad food, too much alcohol, buying clothes that you really don’t need.  I’m sure we can find a way to budget this if you really want it bad enough.

Once you make that leap to finally go after that fastest race ever, first half or full marathon, even finish your first 5K, what else is it going to cost you?  Some time and effort.  A coach can only put the plan in place and motivate you.  He or she cannot run for you or do the work.  I will motivate the heck out of you and make you want to work hard, but you still have to do it. That means sometimes getting out of that warm comfortable bed and getting outside to run.  You have to commit to doing what was prescribed.  That also includes ancillary work outside of running.  I usually give strength exercises to help with whatever weaknesses I found on day one.  I guarantee it will be worth every penny!  You can make time to get it done.  There is a way.  I work with busy people all of the time.  I work with single parents who have to juggle their lives.

The end result?  A happier, more self confident, and awesome person.  You will set an example for your children, spouse, parents, or YOU!  Show yourself you can do it.  Be healthy for your loved ones or just for your piece of mind.  You become happier you will make them happier.

I can coach you in person, in a group, or online from anywhere in the world.

How do I make this leap?  Several ways.

-Send me an email at runyourbestrace@gmail.com with your intentions or questions.  No I will not come through the internet and bite you.  No I will not share your email address with anyone else.  I respect your privacy.

-You can also find me on October 3rd at the OctoHalf Half Marathon expo from 10AM to 4PM.  This is held at the Hatfield Township Rocktoberfest, John S. Clemens Memorial Park, Fairgrounds Rd. at Clemens Rd in Hatfield.  Even if you’re not running the race come find my booth and get to know me.

-Set up a personal meeting, we can find a day and time where I will run with you, or just sit and chat about your goals. How do you know you will like your coach unless you meet him or her?

-Look for upcoming group information sessions.  If enough of you are interested I will set up a time and place and meet with your group or a group of individuals who want more information.  If this interests you please contact me.  I will post any information meetings on this website and my Facebook page.

For any of these options contact me at runyourbestrace@gmail.com!!!  Make that leap, finally!  You deserve it!  Don’t wait until New Year’s Day to start!

Time to Blog Again

First of all, if you were following this blog, I apologize for not writing in the past six months.  March to September tends to be the busiest time of the year for me.  I plan to make this site a priority from here on out.

Do you really want to know what got me going again?  Innocent runners who have no idea they just motivated me again, and a race that I tried to do last Sunday.

First the runners.  I never had such a good time running as I did on Monday.  I was showing three runners the upcoming Octohalf race course.  What I didn’t know before hand was that these awesome runners would give me such a charge.  For each one this or the Rock n Roll Half in late October is their first half marathon.  The Octohalf is less than three weeks away and we were going over each square inch of the course, which is what I do for me, therefore I share with anyone I am coaching.  I pay attention to every detail and try to teach them my methodology.  Isn’t that what coaches do?

I am blessed that everyone I have ever coached has been so kind and full of respect that they show up on time.  I understand a few minutes here and there you cannot predict the last minute red light, etc.  Honestly, I am in awe that in this day and age of being overworked, juggling multiple jobs, being a single parent, not one runner has ever made me angry for delaying a workout. I think that shows that runners, in general, are awesome people, full of respect for fellow mankind.

So I have three runners learning the course ready to go.  One has been running with me for a couple of months now and is the most likable person I have met.  She brings energy every time we run.  She doesn’t know it but she gets me pumped to run (OK, maybe a chance that she knows now if she reads this).  The other two are new to the course.  One is my regular runner’s friend.  The other just found out about my course training recently.

It’s 6:45 AM.  Who is smiling that early?  All four of us!  Why am I smiling?  Because the other 3 brought energy to the group.  If I could wake up every morning like this I would feel like I was in heaven.  My normal routine is, family gone off to work, then I decide to get out of bed and start my day.  Or get up before they do and go run. No people interaction at all.  I am so used to that.  But today it’s different.   Two strangers and a crazy running student who should be a CEO of something since she is so intelligent and has so much energy early in the morning.  Wow, made my day.  They listened to everything I had to say and that alone made me feel good.  On top of that they laughed, made jokes.

I pointed out the details of the course.  That’s what I do.  I am a scientist and analyst of running.  I crunch every number that my Garmin gives me, mix it with the personal vital data that I have on each runner and try to dial in the perfect training plan for each one of my students, online or in person.  Look as far as you can and draw a straight line with your imagination and run that straight line is what I teach. There’s the geometry that I was so good at in high school coming to use.  The runners were all courteous and listened and I felt that they understood what I said.  They stopped talking when I spoke.  Even if I interrupted them.  What a great feeling! All in between them having fun and laughing.  What a coach’s dream.  Runners that listen but still have fun.  I had the pleasure of coaching one of those to her first half marathon last year at this time.  I miss her so much.  I wish all of my runners would need me forever but that’s not happening.  It pumps me up.  It gets my own personal training going full steam ahead.

OK, Sunday’s race.  Coming off of the ultimate high for me, qualifying for the Boston Marathon, it has been a struggle to regain the personal running motivation.  I tried to do a 5K because a friend mentioned that they were in need of runners for a local 5K race.  I actually jogged the course to warmup so that I knew it.  I left the start line and that was it.  I had no mojo.  I finished almost a minute worse than any other 5K I’ve ever run.  I started wondering.  Am I done?  Is training my runners enough satisfaction for me?

After the race, I was so humbled by the lack of effort.  I am so competitive.  That got me steamed on my drive home that I would run less than 100% when I have an example to set.  The next day there I was facing runners who were listening to every word I said hoping to gain knowledge to allow them to get better.  Wow.  Talk about being taught a lesson when I was supposed to be doing the lesson teaching.  My next personal workout was this morning.  Let’s just say I’m back to normal.  See you soon!

Does An Upcoming Race Make You Worry?

Do you get nervous before an upcoming race? A little, a lot, for weeks before, or right before the gun goes off? A lot of energy gets wasted due to anxiety that could affect your performance.

For me, from my many years of experience running races, I try to go about my normal daily routines, and don’t dwell for hours on the upcoming race. Yes I plan for logistics (that takes away anxiety on race day or weekend), but I don’t worry about the race itself. I know that I put in my workouts and what I should expect to be able to run pace-wise based on how well I did my workouts. I might avoid a chore that uses muscles that I don’t normally use in the week or so leading up to the race, but I don’t dwell day in and day out on the race.

So how about race day? I think there are two types of people here. One needs to get pumped up to mentally get into the race. Then there’s the type like me. The morning of a race I like to get to the race site early to avoid any traffic or bathroom issues. I know several people who were late, got out of their car or port-o-john and ran to the starting line only to be the last person crossing the line as the race started already. Everyone of them said that affected their performance. An example of my pre race routine is what I did for the Erie Marathon last September, a race where I qualified for the Boston Marathon and ran a personal best for the marathon.

The day before the race I had driven the course so I knew every inch of it. I even knew where I was going to park. I got to the site at about 5AM for a 7AM race. The sun rose that morning right at 7AM so it was pitch black out. No street lights in this state park on Lake Erie. I parked where I was right across from the beach and could see lights on boats far out on the water. I turned on a playlist of music I prepared for the trip. Nope, not dance music or heart pumping beats. I had soft quiet songs where you can hear the echo of the singer’s voice.  Each song had maybe one or two instruments and you could hear every note very clear. The melodies were soothing. I pictured running the course at my pace as I relaxed. I had about 5 songs lined up and after the 5th I got out of the car and using my phone as a flashlight, made my way up a path for 1/2 mile to the starting area. By then the running club that I belong to had set up a meeting area for the 30+ runners from the club. I ran into quite a few friends and started chatting, not thinking at all about the race at this point. About 30 minutes before the race I wandered off and found a quiet spot to do my warm up routine. After finishing the warm up, I made my way to baggage check and gave them the warm up clothes I was wearing. I made my way to the starting area, and in 5 minutes we were off.

For me keeping my heart rate as low as I can conserves fuel. I remember one race a long time ago where I was into the excitement and pre race music blasting on the PA. People were dancing in place and getting all fired up. I remember struggling to finish that day as I ran out of gas. From then on I found that quiet time is the better way to go for me.  Quiet and alone time recharges me.  You may need that pump up music and that’s fine.  Do your thing, not someone else’s.  Finding a successful routine will help ease any pre race anxiety.  Find it and stick to it every time.

Don’t worry so much about the race and psyche yourself out, draining energy for days and weeks prior.  You did the work.  Expect to do well!  And you will!  Relax, enjoy the surroundings and fellow runners, go find your happy place before the race and you will have a great race!

Congratulations, Janet!!!

Way to go Janet!!!  One of the original Run Your Best Race runners who started in my Couch to 5K program in 2012, Janet just completed the Disney World Dopey Challenge this past weekend. For those that don’t know what that is, Janet completed a 5K on Thursday, a 10K on Friday, a Half Marathon on Saturday, and a full Marathon on Sunday. Incredible. What a major accomplishment and what a comeback!

Janet you work so hard at training, you deserve all of those medals.  On behalf of all of the Run Your Best Race runners, CONGRATULATIONS!!!

It’s Game Time!

Do you have a running goal? If yes, how bad do you want it?

If the answer to that is “a lot!”, “real bad!”, “oh yeah!”, or something similar, you could use a certified running coach.

A certified running coach will listen and understand your goal, evaluate your current conditioning, and will create a custom training plan fit to see you reach your goal.

They will tell you how many miles to run and what pace to run them at for every mile that you run.

They will give you warm up exercises, strength training exercises tailored to address any weakness.

They will offer to run with you to re-evaluate you and answer questions to ease any anxiousness.

They will adjust your plan as needed for any bumps in the road (things happen) and accelerate or decelerate the plan based on re-evaluation.

They will feel like your best friend.

If you listen to your coach (instead of your spouse/work buddy/barber/massage therapist/pet), follow the plan, and communicate honestly and often you will reach your goal a lot faster (we’re talking years faster for some goals).

Does your generic training plan (geared towards the general population) that you found on the internet do that for you?

Does it give feedback and motivate you, adjust itself because you told it you had a family emergency in the middle of it, and hold you accountable when you need it?

My custom training plans are not expensive and worth every penny.

I train anyone from beginners to Boston Marathoners.

For a free quote and/or consultation contact me at runyourbestrace@gmail.com!

Now is the time to do what you’ve always wanted to do.

Don’t wait any longer!

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