Sometimes, You Need to Push Through.

Most of the time if you’re not feeling good, feel the beginnings of an injury, or are just flat, you should back off or even skip a workout or a run. Many times I’ve made it to the end of the block to only walk back to the house because something just wasn’t right.  Very rarely is it worth the risk.  This helps to prevent injury and respects the concept that your life stress impacts your training. This is where a coach can come in handy. If you have a good relationship with your coach, he or she should be able to look at your warmup or your first few repetitions and see if you are on your game or not. Most of the time they will adjust the workout to account for the additional stress or issue that you’re dealing with.

 

Sometimes though, they will see this and tell you to press on. Sometimes you need to exercise some more discipline and gut out the workout. There is a certain amount of risk, but as with most things, with additional risk there are additional rewards. The reason for this is that you rarely get to determine what your life is going to be like on race day or a critical stage in your training cycle. Your kid may be sick. A project at work may start to go sideways. Your brother in law may lose his job. Life happens on it’s own schedule and it rarely matches up with your training schedule. Every once in a while, maybe two or three time a training cycle, you should push through a workout when things aren’t going well. A race will come when you need your A game, and you feel like a piece of microwaved, day old pizza. This will prepare you for the races when the planets are not perfectly aligned. If you don’t do it in training, at least on some level, you cannot expect to do it on race day. Physically you do this through race specific workouts. Mentally, you sometimes need to push through on days when you’re not at your best.

 

So most of the time if you’re feeling off, pack it in. But every once in a while get in there and dig deep. You’ll be thankful for this come race day.

 

Enjoy the Run.

Process Goals: The Road to Running Mastery

US Women's Steeple Team

US Women’s Steeple Team

Running is most certainly about getting fast times and it’s also about mastery of a process. In terms of fast times, none of us will win every race that we enter. We won’t run personal bests at all of our races either. Not even most of them. Wins and personal bests are extremely rare occurrances for the vast majority of runners. So having time based, performance goals for your running is a recipe for disappointment.

 

At a recent coaching clinic that I attended there was a great session with Paul Salitsky. Salitsky is a sports psychologist and a professor at UC Davis. He said a ton of great things that I am still digesting. One of the things he said that resonated with me was this idea of having process based goals every day. He said that each and every practice, workout, or race should have a process goal. Running a fast time or placing in a race is something that he would call an objective. Our goals that we set daily are the milestones on the way to that objective. They don’t guarantee that we will attain the objective, although they get us on the correct path. Very simply a process goal is something you have complete control over that furthers you on the journey toward mastery of running. Something like going out easy in a race when you usually go out fast. Another one would be trying our a more dynamic warm up before your race or throwing in some drills. Maybe there is an aspect of your form you are working on and you use a verbal cue to help remind you during your run. All of these are great example of process goals.

 

There is a great deal about running and racing well that has nothing to do with times or distances. With process goals you stand a very good chance of accomplishing them because they are completely within your control. Unlike race times, which are influenced by things like weather, other competitors, and course conditions, you are in total control of process goals. Process goals also teach us something about running or race tactics. Going out with the lead pack or trying a different warmup should increase your knowledge of yourself as a runner in a ways that a fast time cannot. You will learn how your body best responds and what race tactics are good for your specific strengths and weaknesses. By focusing on a a process goal, you can work on mastery of your running while not focusing on time or distance based performance.

 

So for your next run give it a try. Go out and think “run tall” to help you work on your form. Or maybe you need to work on the smoothness of your arm swing. One that I have been doing lately is trying to feel my glutes firing when I run. In your next race, maybe see if you can pass 5 people in the last third of the race.  Learn something new about yourself each and every day that you run. Don’t worry so much about the time or the distance and get yourself on the road to mastery of your running.

 

Enjoy the run.

Women’s US Distance Running

Amy Cragg with the US flag after medaling in the marathon at the world championshipsMaybe it’s just me, but I am finding American women’s distance running fascinating at this point in history. As I’ve said before, I’m a big track and field fan. Primarily of the distance events; the 800 meters and up. On Sunday I got twitter updates throughout the women’s marathon at the IAAF World Championships. Mostly from Steve Magness who was out on the course. The course was three loops in London so Magness was able to give updates throughout the race. Amy Cragg got third. She is the first American woman to medal in this event since 1983. Let that sink in for a minute. She hung in there with the pack and led a breakaway in the final miles. Two east Africans took first and second. Amy out kicked a Kenyan to get third in the final 400 meters. She got third place by less than a second. Toughness. Grit. Determination. Confidence. Moxy. You name it, she had it in that marathon. Ridiculously impressive. This is impressive yet truly not surprising. After seeing the great showing that the American women put on in Rio last year you could have expected something like this. The thought in the back of my mind is what impact Shalane Flanigan could have had on this race. Amy and Shalane were training partners going into Rio and worked together at the Olympic trials and in Rio to put up great performances. If Shalane was healthy, could we have seen American women go 2 and 3, or maybe even 1 and 2 ? Who knows. The point of my post is that save for Paul Chelimo (just follow Chelimo on twitter or Instagram and you’ll see what I’m talking about), the men’s side of the American distance running equation is pretty bland. Yes Rupp is a world class marathoner; he’s also got the charisma of a piece of wonder bread toast. Not to mention the controversy surrounding Salazar that never seems end. As Meb has retired there really is not anyone to fill the void he has left. Maybe Paul Chelimo will be that guy. Time will tell.

 

As I was following the women’s marathon action, a vast amount of support was being tweeted out for Cragg. Tweets from Molly Huddle, Kara Goucher, Emily Infeld, Emma Coburn, Sara Vaughn, and Stephanie Bruce were there supporting and cheering on Amy. There’s even a photo of Infield on the sidelines cheering for Cragg. There is genuine respect and admiration among the women runners. This is in addition to the fact that the most compelling stories are on the women’s side. From Huddle winning multiple national titles after letting up on the line at worlds. Emily Infeld staying healthy and making another world championship team. Gabe Gruenwald’s battle with cancer while still racing. Sara Vaughn coming from behind in the last 100 meters to make the world championship team at nationals (as a realtor and mother of three). Kate Grace running a personal best at the Olympics to qualify for the final and then running another one in the final. Kara Goucher finally getting the silver medal that she earned in the 10,000 meters. And Jenny Simpson. Wow. If you haven’t watched that 1500m final you really, really need to. Seriously. You could do an entire clinic on race tactics with just that race. Simpson turned it on the last 200 and made a great race one for the ages, coming away with a silver medal. So many compelling stories. These women, if you know even a piece of their stories, are super easy to root for. Not only is the camaraderie extremely attractive, their stories connect with us on a deep level.

 

Maybe because I spent Saturday listening to Joe Vigil tell stores about Deena Kastor, saying that she was “99 lbs and 98lbs of that was heart,” I have become biased towards the ladies. Maybe there are incredibly compelling stories on the US men’s side and I just haven’t seen them. Even if Chelimo becomes the new face of American men’s distance running, he’ll need some company to match what the women are doing. I’m not sure who else is waiting in the wings, ready to fill the void. Until that happens the American women are displaying values we can all get behind and are crazy fun to watch.

 

Enjoy the run.

The Magic of Strides

When I first started running seriously back in high school we would do 10 strides at the beginning and end of just about every practice. I didn’t know why we were doing them just that coach said to do it and everyone else was doing them so I complied. What are strides you ask? They are short bouts of fast running, usually about 80 to 100 yards and done at about 80% effort. You are running fast, in control, and not all out. The goal of strides is to work on your neuromuscular fitness and your running form. They make you more efficient from a running form perspective rather than a cardio vascular perspective. And they are a hell of a lot of fun.

 

Now in my mid forties, I don’t do 10 strides before or after every run. I will usually do 4 to 6 if warming up for a race. The shorter the race the more important these are to do. If you are running a 10k or a 5k you need to get your body ready to run fast and strides are a great way to do that. In the normal course of training I will do 4 – 6 strides after easy runs. More often than not I incorporate them into the last mile or so of my easy runs. I’ll pick a landmark (tree, hydrant, light pole, car, etc.) and start speeding up when I hit it. I’ll go for 80 yards or so and then jog until I feel recovered and then speed up again. While I’m doing these I try to focus on running tall and engaging my glutes. This will promote better form and a more efficient running stride.

 

So the next time your out for an easy run give some strides a try.

 

Enjoy the run.

Why I watch Track & Field (and you should too)

Mo Farah winning Olympic Gold

Mo Farah winning Olympic Gold

Back in 2012 my wife and I were watching the men’s 10,00 meters final from the London Olympics. We were amazed at the come from behind victory by Mo Farah . We were so excited, yelling screaming and jumping up an down, that it terrified our then 1 year old son. You may be asking yourself, “So what? Just because I run does not make me a track fan.” I’m here to tell you that it should. Everyone needs a coach (even coaches). Everyone also needs heroes. People that we can emulate and admire in our fields. Having heroes motivates me to perform well and to get out and train on those days when it’s not so easy. Seeing video footage of Jenny Simpson running through the Colorado snow makes it easier for me to get out the door during my northern California drizzle. Seeing the non-running work that Meb routinely does after his runs makes it easier for me to do my 15 minutes of strength and mobility work after my run. Hearing how Mo Farah spends half the year away from his family to train puts my Sunday long run away from my family in perspective.

Plus it’s a hell of a sport. One you’ve done some running you are more able to appreciate things like Mo Farah closing in 55 seconds. You understand what that means and how fast that is after running nearly 6 miles on the track. Having heroes lets you see the resilience that’s humanly possible. After watching Molly Huddle come in fourth at a world championships because she eased up at the line and then see her simply blow the doors off every other road race for an entire year, you can feel her determination, her drive. That type of grit and performance after a set back can fuel your efforts and let you know that you can come back even stronger after a bad race.

Training practices of the elites won’t always translate into your life but a lot of it can. Rest. Recovery. Focus. Investment. Commitment. All those things apply to each of us and not just to running.

So if you are not a fan of track & field but need a shot of motivation, do yourself a favor and check out some the action at the IAAF World Championships in a little over a week. You’ll definitely be impressed. And quite possibly, inspired.

 

Enjoy the Run.

Learning from races

Training AdjustmentI recently did a half marathon. I knew that I was not anywhere near PR shape. What I really didn’t know was how far out from that I was. I planned the race as if I was at PR shape so I could gauge how far off I was. Some could say that I planned to fail. I simply say I was doing a very controlled experiment with a very predictable outcome. The only thing I question was the severity of how far out of shape I was. I went out and ran the first 4 miles in great time. I was working but not laboring. That whole “comfortably hard” thing for half marathons. Then a guy went past me and I tried to stay with him. He was going about 40 seconds per mile faster than me. A few meters later I realized that he was a 10k runner, starting his kick for home. This is one of the dangers of races that share courses or course sections. Keep this in mind when you’re racing. That awesome person that zooms by you may be running half or sometimes a quarter of the distance.

 

In looking my at my overall performance, my speed was there but I did not have the endurance or stamina to maintain it. I basically started off great and got slower and slower as the race went on. After mile 9 or so I started getting passed and was struggling to maintain anything close to a decent pace. What this translates into in training adjustments is very simple: tempo runs at race pace and fast finish long runs. These are the elements that I need to focus on in my upcoming training. These elements will train my body to be efficient at race pace and also train me to run at race pace when fatigued at the end of a race. I may do another half in October to see where I am again as I prepare from my marathon in December.

 

If you do a race or a time trial in the middle of training be smart enough to do some analysis and adjust your training accordingly. Any good coach will be more than happy to help you with this. Once you know some of the basics of training you can easily modify your training plan to better suit where you are in your fitness. Always remember that you are a unique individual and that no training plan should survive first contact with actual training.

 

Enjoy the run.

What I learned at the USATF Outdoor Championships

Shalane Flanigan and Molly Huddle battling it out in the Women's 10,000m

Shalane Flanigan and Molly Huddle battling it out in the Women’s 10,000m

A few weeks ago I went to several events at the USATF Outdoor Championships. They were pretty close to home and I loved being able to see so many of the world’s top athletes competing for spots on the US team for the World Championships. Here’s a quick take on what I learned that can be applied to the everyday runner:

  1. Running makes you stronger in ways you don’t realize. Gabe Grunewald finished dead last in her qualifying heat in the women’s 1500. She also got a standing ovation. You may not know it if you’re not a hard core track and field fan, but she is a three time cancer survivor and was in the midst of chemotherapy during the championships. At the end of the race Gabe and her fellow competitors huddled tougher near the finish line in a show of support. As runners we often do hard things. We pay for the privilege to run 26.2 miles with a bunch of other people. We run comfortable hard to finish strong in a 10k. Gabe is battling cancer. Again. Running makes you a stronger human being and not merely a stronger runner.
  2. You have to run the race to find out how fast you are. It seems that just about every time Molly Huddle toed the line at an event over the past year she was claiming a US title or coming away with a victory. And not just a skin of your teeth kind of victory. Usually she was beating people going away. She did that on the track for the women’s 10,000 at the US Championships. The next day for the 5,000 things were different. Huddle broke away with a lap to go and two ladies went with her. Shelby Houlihan and Shannon Rowbury eventually caught and passed Huddle in an amazing finish. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the double. Maybe Houlihan and Rowbury just had better days. In running nothing is guaranteed. I love to play with race calculators to predict race times. What I (and all of us) need to remember is that they are only predictions not historical facts. You have to actually run the race to find out how fast you are. Most of us will never be racing Molly Huddle. Our biggest competitors are always ourselves. No matter what you don’t know how fast you can go until you run the race.
  3. Racing can be incredibly fun. Paul Chelimo is on we of my favorite follows on Twitter. He says some of the funniest stuf related to his training and racing. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and performs and a very high level. Friday night of the US Championships he took off from the gun at the start of the Men’s 5,000 meters. He had a solid 20 meter lead by the end of the first lap. I thought that he would eventually come back to the field. He didn’t. Chelimo started with a 61 for his first lap, kept pushing it with 63s and 64s and closed in 59 seconds to set a meet record, finishing in 13:08. If he hadn’t been hamming it up with the crowd for the last 50 meters he would have been even faster. Chelimo was definitely hurting the last 800 meters but still having a great time putting together an impressive wire to wire win.  Remember that the next time you toe the line to race. Racing is hard and it can also be a hell of a lotta fun if you want it to be.

Enjoy the Run.

What Does it Take to Race Well: Part III – A Race Plan

Race Planning

Introduction

Racing well is a goal that many of us have. Whether you want to place in your age group or finally hit that PR in your favorite, local, half marathon, racing well is one of the things that many of us are working towards. Previously I talked about training and race day logistics. Today I will discuss having and executing a race plan on race day.

A great race plan

A couple of weeks ago I went to the USATF Outdoor championships. It was a blast seeing some of the best athletes in the world compete for spots on the US team that will head to London for this year’s IAAF World Whampionships. One of the highlights of the meet was the Men’s 5000 meters, won by Paul Chelimo. Chelimo clearly had a race plan and he executed it perfectly. Chelimo went out in 61 on his first lap. For those of you not familiar with the 5k on the track, that is a pretty fast first lap. I thought Chelimo would come back to the pack but he didn’t. He kept up the pace running as slow as 65 per lap and closing in 59 to win the race going away and setting a new meet record while he did It. Chelimo executed his plan perfectly. No one else in the field was prepared to go out that fast or sustain that pace for the race. He raced really well because he had a great plan and executed it extremely well.

In order to come up with a plan you need to a have a goal in mind. Ask yourself what you intend to accomplish by doing this race. Is is running a certain time? Is it beating your age group rival? Is it simply finishing?  What ever you are trying to accomplish on race day it helps to have a plan on how you’re going to do it.

My Recent Race

When I sat down to craft my race plan for my recent half marathon, I had a time goal in mind. I wanted to break 1:40. Using a calculator app I know that 1:40 is 7:37 pace for a half marathon. Looking at the race course it’s pretty flat and mostly on a gravel trail. I know from my training that I run a bit faster on gravel for whatever reason. I also looked at past finish times and noted that the race is pretty small (160 people) and that running a sub 1:40 would likely put me in good position to place in the top three in my age group and top ten overall. Having all that in mind I worked out what my cumulative times would be at each mile of the race. I then picked out three milestones to focus on, 4, 8, and 12 miles. I focused on the cumulative time I had to be at for each milestone. These are the times I need to hit at those markers during the race. For example,  I needed to be at 30 minutes at 4 miles and about 1 hour at 8 miles. I like this better than pace because constantly checking my pace slows me down. Just being prepared to check my watch at three points I can tell myself, “steady as she goes”,  “ease up”,  “or pick it up a little” for this next section of the race.

What ended up happening was completely different. I kept checking my watch every quarter mile or so. This did not help me. I was on track for the first four miles and after that I quickly realized that my fitness was lacking. I don’t think my plan was bad it was just not appropriate for my actual fitness level. For a plan to be successful it has to be aligned with your fitness level. I simply did not have the stamina to maintain my goal pace for the entire race. So during the race I adjusted my goal to finish under 1:50. I did this on the fly although you might want to have a B or C goal in the back of your mind in case something strange happens on race day. I made my adjusted goal by running 1:48:32, finishing fourth in my age group and 16th overall. Not a bad showing but not a particularly good race. What I do know now though is where my fitness is as I go into marathon training. This is invaluable.

The Takeaway

Every race will not go as planned and you can learn something from every race experience. In fact for most of us we may have only a handful of great races throughout our running lives. The important thing is to learn something about yourself as an athlete from each and every race. For me, I know that if I want to be at my best for a half marathon I need to complete some race specific long runs and more tempo runs to improve my lactate threshold. Quite simply my training was insufficient for the outcome I wanted (this is where having an objective eye on my training, via a coach, would be super helpful) . Always ask yourself what do I need to change about my training, my race day logistics, or my race plan to better accomplish my goal? What will I change in the next raining cycle or in my preparation to improve my result? This will ensure that when you go into the next race you can make the proper adjustments and get closer to your goal.

Enjoy the run

What Does it Take to Race Well: Part II – Race Day Logistics

Racing well is a goal that many of us have. Whether you want to place in your age group or finally hit that PR in your favorite, local, half marathon, racing well is one of the things that many of us are working towards. Previously I talked about training and today I will discuss race day logistics.

The morning routine.

There are a few things about racing that have nothing to do with fitness and can have a large impact on you racing result. Race day logistics is one of those things. Racing provides enough pressure on its own without added stress from things that can be worked out with a little bit of prior planning.

Most of us have a morning routine that we adhere to. There are several actions that we take (without even thinking) that get us out the door on time and ready for our day. The more variation we have in our routine the more mental energy we need to expend to get it done. Making decisions is the primary source of this mental fatigue. The same principles are at work on race days. Simple things like getting your racing outfit ready to go the night before can pay huge dividends. There is no reason you need to be scrambling around the house looking for safety pins for your bib the morning of the race. That additional mental energy is better spent focusing on the race.

Reverse planning

I like to use a technique called reverse planning when I plan out my race day. I start with myself on the starting line and subtract the time I need for each task. I’ll give you an example. I’m running a half marathon on July 1st. The race starts at 9:00am. I want to be on the start line at 8:55am. I want to warm up for 45 minutes, so I need to be parked and out the car at 8:10am. I will need to pick up my bib the day of because the race is out of town. Bib pick up starts at 8:00am and is on the course, so I want to be there by 7:45. The course is about 2 hours from my house so I need to leave at 5:45am. Better make it 5:30am to account for traffic. I see that parking costs $5 which means I should get some cash to keep it easy. If I get up at 5am, that should give me plenty of time to get some breakfast and get my gear on. I’m going to have some cereal with some almonds and cranberries. I’ll bring an energy bar to eat on the way and I’ll grab a double espresso at a drive through to drink about 7:30am. The caffeine takes an hour to kick in but it always gets the mail moving before then. My porta potty time is built into my warm up. I’ll need to have a $5 bill and my race dots in my jacket pocket. Temperature on the course should be in the 70s . Which for me means a tank top and shorts for a half marathon. I need to test out my car keys in the shorts pocket before hand. I’ll want a full tank of gas so I’ll put a reminder in my phone to top off the gas tank after work on Friday night. I’ll get to bed by 8pm to give myself ample time for sleep.

Planning all that out does not guarantee that everything will go exactly according to plan. What it does force me to do is expend the mental energy ahead of time thinking about all the tasks. Making a plan is simply making some decisions in advance. If the dynamics of those events change I’ve already thought about them and it is easier to deviate. This makes it a lot easier if something does go wrong. So if I forget to get gas the night before I know that the race is only about 100 miles from my house and I can get there on less than half a tank (just need to get gas after the race prior to heading home). Planning out your race day logistics is a great way to actually conserve your mental energy for racing.

This may not seem significant but all these little things add up when you want to bring your best on race day. Obviously if you are doing some overnight travel to a race or traveling with family or a group, this becomes more detailed and there are more decisions to make. The same principles apply. Reduce the number of decisions you need to make the morning of the race to keep your mind sharp and focused. You are now better able to focus on maintaining your pace and executing your race plan.

Next time I will talk about your race plan as the final element in racing well.

Enjoy the run.

What Does it Take to Race Well: Part I – Training

Racing well is a goal that many of us have. Whether you want to place in your age group or finally hit that PR in your favorite, local half marathon, racing well is one of the things that many of us are working towards. Today and in the next few posts,  I’m going to talk about what it takes to race well.

There are three main elements to racing well: training, race day logistics, and having a  race plan. Now a lot of us are training and some training is more structured and tailored than others. To race well your training needs to be consistent, specific, and periodized. Race day logistics is all about reducing unnecessary stress come race day. This involves minimizing race day decisions and removing any possible variability out of the day so  you can focus on performing at your best. A race plan is something that many of us neglect but can pay huge dividends come race day. If you are not sure when you are going to surge or how you are going to treat the hills, you will be wasting mental energy figuring these things out come race day.

Let’s take a deep dive into training.

The first element in a great race is a solid training plan that is tailored to you and specific to your race distance. Racing well also means that the training has been executed. This means that the cookie cutter plan you downloaded from a website or copied from a magazine is probably not your best bet. A training schedule from a coach who knows your strengths, weaknesses, limitations, and life circumstances, is more likely  to give you success. I’m not saying that just because I write and sell training plans. I’d gladly you get a solid plan from Jay Johnson, Greg Macmillan, Runners Connect, or Jason Fitzgerald, than download a list of distances and dates from a website. Every runner is different and if you go with a generic plan, you may have a good race, but I can guarantee you that you have left some potential untapped. Another factor that we tend to overlook is how to adjust your training when life gets in the way. We all have things that come up that interfere with our running. Whether it is a last minute business trip, a family emergency, or an illness, if you run for any significant length of time, life events will eventually throw a monkey wrench into your training. Having a coach to contact to adjust your training is invaluable in this situation. Admittedly you could learn how do it it yourself but having a professional coach who can be objective (and more importantly not stressed out from the life event that you are also dealing with) is invaluable. If you want to maximize your potential and increase your chances of racing at your best, do yourself a favor and get a customized training plan.

Consistency is the hallmark building fitness. The training needs to be executed And not just a paces and distances on the calendar. A training plan is no good if you never do it. You need to keep at it. Running when you’d don’t feel like it. Getting in your strength work each and every day. Actually resting on a rest day instead of pulling weeds in the yard. You need to be able to avoid significant down time from injuries. This means that if you are not incorporating strength work into your training you are greatly increasing your injury risk and more likely to lose time from injury. For the record I have yet to see a training plan from a magazine that incorporates running specific strength work.  Create some habits for yourself to get into the rhythm of training. There is no more powerful force in your life than inertia; once you get things going, keep them going. A good race is going to take a lot of consistent work in training.

Specificity in your training comes in two flavors; (1) tailored to your unique physical abilities and life situation (see above) and (2) targeted to your race distance.  It does little good to train for a half marathon with a 5k plan. If you are running a 5k and never do any speed work you are setting yourself up for disappointment. If your race has a ton of hills and your training doesn’t include hills you are asking for a painful race day. If your race is going to be in hot conditions and you don’t do any hot weather runs (or at least simulate it) you are asking for trouble. The distances, paces, and workouts need to be geared toward maximizing your success at a specific distance. The training plan needs to include a good amount of work at your target race pace. If you never run your race pace in training you have very little chance of running it on race day. You need to feel what that pace feels like and engrave it into your body’s muscle memory. When you’re at a point in the race where you’re tired and it’s getting increasingly difficult to focus, your body needs to be able to simply fall into race pace to keep you going. Considerable work at race pace will make this much easier to do. Training needs t be finely tuned to you and your life and laser focused on the race distance and conditions for you to have a great race day.

Periodization is the final key to solid training. You don’t start a marathon training cycle with a 22 mile long run. A good training plan will build foundational fitness, from both an aerobic and neuromuscular perspective. This means gradually increasing the length of long runs and keeping them easy, to build the aerobic metabolism. It also means incorporating running specific strength work and strides to ensure that your running economy and mechanics are improving along with your cardiovascular fitness. Back in the Marines we would call this the crawl, walk, run method for training. Each block of training builds on the last. First you do a foundation, then move on to some race specific work, and finish with a taper or sharpening period. For a my full take on periodization see this earlier post.

Next time we’ll tackle the second element of a good race day: race day logistics.

Enjoy the run.