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 - 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!


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!