Bayshore Marathon Recap, What's Next, and More

I'm back!  Lots of things to recap.  I hope you are sitting down!

First, the Bayshore Marathon on Saturday, May 26th.  As I discussed in my previous post, I decided to put my goal aside and run the marathon with friends. As I mentioned in an Instagram post, I was very indifferent leading up to race weekend and I was worried I'd feel the same way when I finished the race. Thankfully I was wrong!  It was a fun weekend and a much different experience than racing a marathon.  I didn't miss the stress of obsessing over my diet, my clothes, and the weather.  It was such an odd feeling to be at the start line with no butterflies.  It was a very warm and humid morning and temperatures continued to climb as the day went on.  In all honesty, for me to run a sub 3:00 marathon, all of the stars are going to have to align, and I'm certain the warm weather would have been difficult for me to manage.  I feel as if sustaining my knee injury back in April and the difficult weather conditions on race morning was the universe telling me I'm not ready just yet.  So I have to be patient and keep the faith my day will come.  

Back to the race - it was so much fun for me to be able to really take in the sights and crowds of my favorite marathon.  When I'm racing, I have blinders on, and running easy gave me a whole new appreciation of the Bayshore Marathon.   Due to the heat, the two friends that I ran with didn't meet their goal, but they ran strong races and we all crossed the finish line together.  


Finishing the race was exciting for me because running 26.2 miles is a long way no matter what pace you're running, and more importantly, it marked the beginning of a new training cycle and another shot at a marathon PR.  I am working with a coach again and am very excited to have someone else holding the reins of my training.  The weather at Bayshore was a reminder of how disappointing and PR derailing warm temps on race day can be.  As a result, I have decided to push my goal marathon back two weeks and run Indy Monumental on Saturday, November 3rd.  Previously I planned on running the Detroit Free Press Marathon, of which I am an ambassador.  Being an ambassador is an honor and a once in a lifetime opportunity, so this also impacted my decision.  I want to enjoy every second of that weekend and not be in race mode, so it makes perfect sense to run the half marathon in Detroit and make Indy my goal marathon.  I feel really confident and at peace with my decision.  I have run Indy three times and have PR'd twice, so I know the course well and where my difficult spots have been during the race.  

Last week myself and my friend and Run Strong Project business partner were featured on an episode of the Rambling Runner podcast.  We had the opportunity to discuss our personal and running backgrounds, our future goals, and of course, Run Strong Project.  Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts!  


Speaking of Run Strong Project, we have some new offerings that I am really excited about.  The first is private partner coaching.  This is a great option for someone who is wary of the cost of hiring a coach or who wants to train for a specific event with a friend.  You save money, still have unlimited communication access to your coach, and if you and your friend are at differing levels of fitness, your schedule is specific to your ability.  

The second new offering is a one hour run and strength consult.  Amy and I spend an hour evaluating your running and strength training form, answering training questions, helping you choose a race goal, etc.  You also receive a set of run specific strength exercises designed to keep you injury free. 


As I mentioned earlier, I am an ambassador for the Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon.  Next week, on Tuesday, June 12th, I am co-hosting a meetup at Gazelle Sports Birmingham.  New Balance will be there for shoe demos, we'll run a 5k, then head to Dick O'Dow's for post run refreshments.  And of course, we'll be talking all things Detroit Marathon!  Hope you can join us.  If you haven't yet signed up for one of the weekend's race events and plan on doing so, use the code Sararocks2018 for 10% off!



Happy Global Running Day!

Bayshore Marathon Training - 4 Weeks Out

The title of this post may be a bit deceiving, because I wouldn't actually call my previous week of running "training", but I did run 62 miles, all easy paced.  The tendinitis in my knee is feeling better every day, and I am continuing with physical therapy for at least another week.  Below is a picture of the dry needling combined with electrical stimulation that seems to be helping a lot.  


My week of running was as follows:

  • Monday - 8 miles at 8:04 average pace per mile
  • Tuesday - 10 miles at 8:20 average pace
  • Wednesday - 8 miles at 8:09 average pace
  • Thursday OFF
  • Friday - 9.25 miles at 8:11 average pace
  • Saturday - 18.5 miles at 8:04 average pace
  • Sunday - 8.25 miles at 8:29 average pace
  • Strength training - 30 to 50 minutes x 2
  • Dailey Method - 50 minutes x 2

As I mentioned in my previous post, my plan as of right now is to run the Bayshore Marathon with a friend or two at a slower than PR pace.  As long as my knee continues to feel good, of course!  I am still contemplating a PR attempt in late June, but I'm not forcing myself to make a decision just yet.  There is a good chance I will pass on this idea, enjoy running lower and easy mileage in June, and start training with a coach in July for the Detroit Free Press Marathon.  Although I love the Detroit course, I'm not sure this is the best place for my sub 3:00 attempt, and it may be better to shoot for a course PR.  After Detroit, my plan is to run the Boston Marathon in spring 2019, where I would also shoot for a course PR, so the possibility exists that I may shelve the elusive sub 3:00 attempt until fall of 2019.  And for right now, that feels ok.  

A few other notables from last week - Run Strong Project was featured in the Detroit Jewish News.  It was a really nice write up that chronicled not only our business, but Amy's and my respective experiences with anorexia and how we each began our running journeys.  You can read the article here.

Last week I also got to meet my fellow Detroit Marathon Ambassadors!  They are a phenomenal group and I am super excited to work with them to promote this great race.  


Speaking of the Detroit Free Press Marathon, registration prices increase tonight at midnight!  To beat the price increase, sign up today using the code Sararocks2018 and save 10% on any race distance.  


Bayshore Marathon Training - 7 Weeks Out

Last week's training was definitely my favorite week of the training cycle so far - 77 miles, all easy, in warm and humid weather.  We were on vacation last week so it sounded like a great opportunity for a break from intensity and to enjoy the weather and new sights.  If you have never been to Hilton Head, I highly recommend it!  The weather was gorgeous and the seafood was amazing!

  • Monday - 12 miles easy at 8:13 average pace per mile
  • Tuesday - 10 miles at 7:59 average pace ending with 8 x 20 second strides
  • Wednesday - 13 miles easy at 8:13 average pace
  • Thursday - off for tennis and biking!
  • Friday - 22 miles easy at 7:53 average pace.  This run felt so good!
  • Saturday - 8 miles easy at 8:18 average pace
  • Sunday - 12 miles easy at 7:58 average pace back in 20 degree temps
  • Three 30 minute strength training sessions, and one 30 minute yoga session
Enjoying my day off from running!

Enjoying my day off from running!

While in Hilton Head I got to try out the Koala Clip I purchased a few months ago.  It's a waterproof zip pouch and clips onto the inside of your sports bra.  For years I have used a Ziploc bag to hold my phone but the appeal of the Koala Clip is you don't need pockets in your shorts large enough to hold your phone.  Because the pouch is clipped onto the inside of your sports bra, it does not move around at all, and you forget all about it.  If you run with your phone (and I hope you do!!), this is a great option for carrying it.  Click here to order one yourself!



I came home from vacation with a virus, so today I am taking a complete rest day, and likely tomorrow as well.  I had planned on running less mileage this week because of a half marathon on Saturday, and I wanted to go into that race with fresh legs.  So this virus is helping me do just that!  I'm pretty confident I'll still be able to safely run this weekend.  Fingers crossed!  Nuun Hydration has a new Immunity line and I am drinking plenty of it this week to help me get back to normal.  It comes in two flavors, Orange Citrus and Blueberry Tangerine.

IMG_0856 (1).jpg

While I am resting this week I am going back and rereading some passages from the book pictured below - The Brave Athlete, by Simon Marshall and Lesley Patterson.  It was a quick and funny read but also contained some helpful strategies to help runners push through discomfort during a race.



Good luck to everyone running the Boston Marathon next week!  I am so excited for my tracking party and even more excited to go back in 2019!

Bayshore Marathon Training - 8 Weeks Out, and a few more things I'm excited about!

Hello!  I'll do a quick training recap of my week from March 26th to April 1st.  I was just shy of 79 miles for the week.  

  • Monday - 8.75 miles easy at 8:39 average pace per mile
  • Tuesday - 12 miles easy at 7:52 pace, ending with 8 x 20 second strides
  • Wednesday - 3 mile warm up, 7 mile wave tempo alternating between 6:40 and 7:40 pace, 3 mile cool down.  I love these workouts!  The even miles (2,4,6) at 7:40 pace is faster than easy pace but gives you just enough recovery to attack the next fast mile.
  • Thursday - 10 miles easy at 8:19 pace
  • Friday - long run before vacation!  20 miles at 7:48 pace
  • Saturday - 5 miles easy at 8:36 pace
  • Sunday - 10 miles easy at 7:55 average pace
  • Strength workouts - 3 sessions lasting 30 to 40 minutes, and one 30 minute yoga session

This week we are on vacation in a beautifully warm and humid climate.  I decided to keep my mileage high and forgo workouts with the exception of a few strides after two of my runs.  I could use a down week and honestly running in a dew point of 65 degrees feels like a workout after a long winter.   All of these nice easy runs have given me a lot of time to think about how I train and what I may want to do differently for my fall training cycle.  Over the last several years I have seen great improvement in my marathon time (3:11, 3:07, 3:04) simply from adding mileage.  However, it's not possible to keep upping my miles indefinitely, and there is for sure a point of diminishing returns.  I've been stuck at 3:04 for two years now (I realize "stuck" may not be the right term because that is no doubt a nice marathon PR!), but you understand what I'm saying.  I've plateaued.  So I'm toying with the idea of overhauling my training for the next cycle in the hopes of shocking my body into another PR.  



And speaking of fall marathons, there are officially 199 days until the Detroit Free Press Marathon on Sunday, October 21st!  I am so excited to represent this race as an ambassador.  If you'd like to join me at the starting line, enter the code Sararocks2018 for 10% off your registration.  


And another exciting announcement:  my friend and Run Strong Project business partner, Amy Haenick, and I were featured on an episode of the Michigan Runner Girl podcast that was released last evening.  I'd love for you to take a listen on your next run!  Heather is a fantastic interviewer and did a great job of talking to both of us, which is no easy task.  It was a fun conversation that allowed us to talk about what Run Strong Project is all about, as well as share our own personal running journeys.  Head here to visit Heather's very informative blog and listen to the episode!


Bayshore Marathon Training Recap - 12 Weeks Out

This past Saturday was the 12 week mark until the Bayshore Marathon!  It sounds so far off but the time will go quickly now that spring is approaching, and that is always a busy time for my kids with all of their activities.  Last week I ran 77 miles.  I had one speedy run mid-week and some faster miles built into my long run on the weekend.  

  • Monday - 12 miles total with 16 x 200 meters hard, 200 meters easy
  • Tuesday - 7 easy miles at 8:27 average pace
  • Wednesday - 3 miles easy, 8 miles at marathon effort (6:54 pace), 3 miles easy
  • Thursday - 10 miles easy at 8:24 average pace
  • Friday - 8 miles easy at 7:48 average pace, ended the run with 8 x 20 second strides around 5:50 pace
  • Saturday - 4 miles easy, 10 miles steady with the goal of 7:00 to 7:15 pace (actual 7:07), 4 miles easy.  Those 10 faster miles were no walk in the park but I will say the the back half felt much more comfortable than the first half.  I am always so slow to warm up!  Maybe I should run another ultra!  ;) 
  • Sunday - 8 miles easy at 8:28 average pace

Strength training x 3, each session between 30 and 40 minutes

My mileage is bumping up a bit higher this week and I am looking forward to my 22 mile long run on Saturday.  Just a short post today because I already have another post planned for tomorrow that I am very excited about.  I'l leave you with a photo of my lovely pair of Brooks Launch 5 Run Lucky Edition.  They make me happy every time I look at them!


How to Maximize the Coach-Athlete Relationship

When my business partner and I were interviewed on The Rambling Runner Podcast last week, we touched on a topic that I wanted to explore further.  I was asked a question about factors a runner should consider when hiring a coach.  There are many!  I wanted to take the discussion one step further and talk about how to maximize the experience with your coach after you have made your selection. 

Last year, I blogged about my own experience with using a running coach.  I found it to be extremely beneficial and I am really missing being coached during my current training cycle.  Hiring a coach is a big decision, not only because of the financial implications, but because you are giving up control of your training to another person.  It's important to ask a lot of questions of your potential coach - treat it like a job interview!  Besides the all important question of fees, below are a few questions you may want to consider asking:

  • What is the preferred method and frequency of communication?
  • How do they structure their training?
  • How do they plan to help you accomplish your goals and what time frame do they see as reasonable for achieving them?
  • Are they open to adjusting the schedule as needed when life gets in the way of your training?
  • Have they coached runners at your experience level and preferred distance?
  • What is their background (as both a runner and a coach)?

Now that we've covered some basic questions, there are a few things on your end you should do prior to the interview that will really improve your conversation with your potential coach.

  • Write up a brief bio of your running history - your PR's, injury history, average and peak mileage per week, your favorite and least favorite types of workouts, and type and frequency of cross training
  • Take some time to come up with a list of goals - this can be a race distance, a finish time, an increase in your weekly mileage, whatever you want to achieve!
  • Know your limits and be honest with your coach about them - this includes how much you can afford to pay, how many days per week you want to train, and how much time you have per day to train

The most important thing to keep in mind is you, the athlete, are in the position of power!  Interview several coaches before making a decision and find the best fit for you.

Let's turn the tables a bit now.  As someone who has been coached, and someone who is a coach, I have a unique perspective on how to maximize the coaching relationship.

  • Communicate with your coach.  I tell the athletes I coach it is impossible to tell me too much information, and I mean it.  If you don't tell your coach how training is going, how are they supposed to know how to deliver the best possible training for your needs?  The coaching software I use has boxes for my athletes to record their pace, their mileage, and a notes section for any other pertinent information on how they felt.  When these boxes are filled out it makes my heart so happy (and my job much easier)!
  • Be honest with your coach.  I realize this falls under the communication umbrella, but I think it deserves special mention to emphasize just how important it is to be honest with your coach.  If your workouts feel too hard or too easy, tell them so they can adjust your workouts.  If you feel an injury coming on, tell them so they can set you up with rest days or cross training.  This is part of their job description!  If you feel you aren't being heard or would like more feedback on how they think you're progressing, speak up!  
  • Trust your coach.  This is probably the hardest thing (myself included!) for most runners to do.  If you don't follow the training (you run your easy runs too fast, you run more or less than miles than prescribed, you do additional cross training sessions you don't report), you can't blame your coach if you don't achieve your goal.  

Remember the coach-athlete relationship is a two way street.  You as an athlete are paying for a service and deserve the best possible outcome.  However, your feedback is critical for making that best possible outcome a reality.


Bayshore Marathon Training Recap - 13 Weeks Out, and a Big Week for Run Strong Project!

Lots to recap today!  We'll start with my training from the past week, which totaled 78 miles, including my first 20 mile run since November.  

Monday - 13 miles with 7 miles of progression (7:40 down to 6:40 - that last mile at 6:40 was hard!), 7:37 overall average pace per mile

Tuesday - 10 miles easy at 8:27 average pace

Wednesday - 12 miles with 4 x 6 minutes at 10K pace (6:31 average) with 3 minute recovery jogs

Thursday - 6 miles easy at 8:25 average pace

Friday - 9 miles easy with 8 x 20 second strides, 7:52 average pace

Saturday - my favorite - easy long run!  20 miles at 7:55 average pace

Sunday - 8 miles easy at 8:24 average pace

Strength Training 3 x 30-40  minute sessions

This coming weekend I have some faster running inserted into my long run, which always looks scary to me on paper.  Running some faster miles in my long  run has been key to increasing my speed, but I'll admit I don't love it.  So instead of thinking "I have to" when reflecting on this run I am auto correcting in my head to "I get to" to hopefully go in with a more positive mindset.  I'll let you know if that works!

This past week was also a huge week for Run Strong Project!  We appeared on our first podcast with the awesome Matt Chittim, host of the Rambling Runner podcast.  I will admit to being extremely nervous about this interview and probably spent at least two hours following the interview coming up with really profound things I wish I would have said!  Overall it was a really fun experience and we are thankful for the opportunity.  Matt asks really insightful questions.  Even if you don't listen to our episode I highly encourage you to check out his podcast!

Getting ready to go on the Rambling Runner podcast!

Getting ready to go on the Rambling Runner podcast!

This past Thursday Run Strong Project was featured on our local Fox station's Get Fit segment, and we were lucky enough to appear twice, the first time talking about what our business has to offer, and in the second segment we demonstrated some exercises beneficial to runners alongside one of our RSP clients.  It was a great way to talk about the importance of incorporating strength work into your training and why having a coach can help every runner.


And lastly, yesterday, Amy, my business partner, and I led a free Strength Training for Runners class at Gazelle Sports, our local running store.  The turnout was awesome and we had so much fun meeting some new runners and showing them some simple body weight exercises that can have a big impact.  


So between my big mileage week and the big week for our coaching business, I was pretty tired by Sunday evening but so happy on both fronts.  Onto a new week!



Bayshore Marathon Training Weekly Recap - 15 and 14 Weeks Out

I'm already slacking on my weekly training recaps!  Having a sick child will do that to you.  So let's get back on track.  The week of February 5th I ran 72 miles. Below is a summary:

Monday - 12 miles, last 5 moderate effort (7:12 average pace for the moderate effort)

Tuesday - 11 miles easy, 8:24 average pace

Wednesday - off

Thursday - 4 miles easy, then from miles 4 to 11 I spent the first 2 minutes of each mile at 10K effort (around 6:30 pace).  Overall average pace for the run was 7:42

Friday - 10 miles easy with 8 x 20 second strides, 8:14 average pace

Saturday - 17 miles, last 3 miles at marathon effort (6:54 pace).  Overall average pace was 7:47.

Sunday - 10 miles easy, 8:27 average pace

Weekly strength training workouts - 3

Week of February 12th - 75 miles

Monday - 2.5 mile warm up, 4 x 5 minutes at 10K effort (around 6:30 pace), with 3 minute jog recoveries between.  3.5 mile cool down for a total of 10 miles

Tuesday - 6 miles easy, 6 miles moderate effort (7:14 average pace for the moderate effort)

Wednesday - 5 miles easy at 8:35 average pace

Thursday - 4 miles easy warm up, 2 x 15 minutes at half marathon effort (6:44 pace) with 1 minute jog recovery between sets, 3.5 mile easy cool down

Friday - 9 miles easy at 8:27 average pace with 8 x 20 second strides at the end

Saturday - a bit of a rough long run!  My stomach wasn't feeling it but I got it done - 18 miles with 30 second accelerations at the beginning of each mile from miles 6 - 17.  Overall average pace was 7:56.

Post long run struggle!

Post long run struggle!

Sunday - 9 easy miles at 8:27 average pace

Weekly strength training workouts - 3

Overall I'm happy with my training so far.  I'm very much looking forward to getting off the treadmill and back outside!  My first 20 miler is this weekend and it's also time to start thinking of a goal time for the half marathon I am running at the end of March.

Below is a picture of my current shoe rotation - the Brooks Launch 5, the Adidas Boston 6, and the Brooks Ghost 10.  All three shoes are great for easy runs.  I tend to run my harder efforts in either the Launch 5 or Boston 6, but last week used the Ghost 10 for a moderate pace run and was surprised how much I liked it!  Not pictured is the Adidas Adios, which I used for serious speed work and races.  Now that I have over 200 miles on my Launch 5's I feel qualified to do a review, so look for that soon.

From left to right:  Brooks Launch 5, Adidas Boston 6, Brooks Ghost 10

From left to right:  Brooks Launch 5, Adidas Boston 6, Brooks Ghost 10

For those of you who are local, Run Strong Project is hosting a FREE 45 minute Strength Training for Runners class this coming Sunday, February 25th, at 9:30 a.m.!  There are still a few spots remaining in the class, so please join us!


And finally, thank you to everyone who reached out to me regarding my previous post.  It means a lot that you took the time to read it.

Bayshore Marathon Training Weekly Recap - 16 WeekS Out

Last year while I was training for the Boston Marathon, I blogged each week about my training.  I've decided to do this again while training for the Bayshore Marathon on May 26th.  As I mentioned previously, I'm writing my own training plan for this training cycle.  I plan to use a coach for my fall marathon.  After years of being in charge of my own training, I've realized I like handing the reins over to someone else!  Coaching yourself is completely different than coaching another athlete, and while I love coaching others, I find it hard to be objective when it comes to my own training.

This past week I ran 70 miles.  Nearly all of these miles were on the treadmill due to snow, ice, and cold.  If I was willing and able to run later in the day, I could probably have gotten in some of these miles outside, but I am stubborn and like to run at 5:00 a.m. A lot of treadmill time is not out of the ordinary for Michigan in mid-winter, so I'm trying to roll with it and remember spring will actually arrive at some point, just like it does every single year.  My schedule looked like this:

Monday - 12 miles, first 7 easy, last 5 miles at a moderate pace (7:42 average pace)

Tuesday - 10 miles with 8 x 1 minute at 5K - 10K effort  

Wednesday - Rest day

Thursday - 12 miles.  First 4 miles easy, 5 miles at marathon effort (6:59 average pace), 3 miles easy

Friday - 10 miles easy with 8 x 20 sec strides (8:13 average pace)

Saturday - 16 miles.  My goal was to run the first 8 miles easy and run the second 8 miles a bit faster.  First half of the run averaged 8:01 per mile, second half averaged 7:36 per mile

My long run essentials!  Generation UCAN Chocolate Peanut Butter bar and Nuun Watermelon hydration tablet pre-run, Run Gum Cinnamon flavored gum chewed during the second half of the run.

My long run essentials!  Generation UCAN Chocolate Peanut Butter bar and Nuun Watermelon hydration tablet pre-run, Run Gum Cinnamon flavored gum chewed during the second half of the run.

Sunday - 10 miles easy, 8:18 average pace

*I also completed three strength training sessions that lasted 30 to 40 minutes each

Over the next few weeks I plan on increasing my long runs to 18 miles.  For the last month I have been taking Wednesday as a rest day from running.  As marathon training picks up steam I will likely go back to running 7 days a week, but I have to say I am enjoying my day off!  

For those of you who are in metro Detroit, Run Strong Project, the coaching business I co-own with a wonderful strength coach, is holding a free run specific strength training class on Sunday, February 25th, at Gazelle Sports in Birmingham.  Click here to learn more and reserve your spot!