Post Season Blues

With the end of every season comes the finality of another chapter in our personal book of running.  A time to reflect on the season that has passed and to evaluate our progress.  Time to kick back a bit, relax, regenerate, and reward ourselves on another season, well done.   What do we do with ourselves now that we have so much free time on our hands?  Although we know this break is essential to our long term success it can still be a tough adjustment for many.   Here are some examples of how some of our folks make the most of their down time and deal with the in-between season blues.

Michael Lombardi:  “Hitting the weights extra hard during the in between season always cures the blues for me!”

Christine Carbonetti:  I look forward to the in between because I use that time to focus on cross training and getting stronger in the weight room. There does come a point, however, where I’m ready and excited to jump back into training. I think having that break allows for us to get recharged and ready for what’s to come.

Alyssa Risko:  “In the off season I welcome the needed rest but not the little aches and pains that come with the lack of movement/mileage!”

Erin Wrightson:In the off season, I drink more wine and eat more pizza & tacos!”

As we look back at the season it’s important to ask ourselves some important questions.  Did we reach the goals that we had set for ourselves?  Were our goals and plan something that worked well with the rest of our lives and could be repeated going forward?  How can we be more efficient and do it better while still enjoying the process?  After all, we want to be sure that the journey is as enjoyable as possible and is sustainable over time.  Setting sensible goals that fit our lifestyle will put us in the best possible position for success.  We are not professional athletes and therefore we will have many priorities that rank above and beyond that of our running.   Take advantage of the free and get caught up on everything.

Jaclynn Stankus:  “The time in between my marathons where my body is recovering helps me to reset myself physically and mentally.  It lets me focus on other areas of my life and take care of myself in ways that I may neglect during hard training.  I begin the new season with a new attitude and a clear head.”

Emily Camenga:  “In between seasons, I really miss the focus and motivation that comes with following a specific training plan. In planning each day with specific intent and purpose, all other areas of my life are better organized. When the methodical training season comes to an abrupt end, it’s hard not to feel a little lost and disconnected.”

Danielle Turk-Bly:  “Running is one of the few luxuries that we are given that bridges the agony of pushing past what is comfortable and the reward of doing something you didn’t think possible. The off season can be daunting, because you know you are in the pursuit of more, but the immediate task of holding back leaves you craving the pain and the accomplishment it brings when you can push past it.”

The in-between seasons break is a great time to catch up on things that may have been neglected while we were in serious season training.  It’s time to prioritize different aspects of our life and restore some life balance.  Not only will this please our family and friends but it will do wonders for our own body and mind.   Keeping the peace in our households is always a must if we are going to be able to sustain this pursuit towards our goals over and over.

As we runners we have the tendency to think that more is always better and that rest periods will only lose us fitness.  The part about losing fitness is correct, while more is definitely not always better.  I frequently have new athletes to our program that don’t understand the importance of this lower volume training period and letting go of some fitness.   We are so consumed with the daily runs and the desire to always be improving that it’s tough to embrace the down times.  Make the most of the down time by recovering your body and tending to the rest of your lives and get back to the start line better than ever.

Embrace the in-between seasons and make them as productive as possible.   There is no reason for sadness or the post season blues.  Consistent improvement in your running is not a linear journey and there will be many ups and downs in training, racing as in life.   Navigate your way through the peaks and valleys with a disciplined approach and reap the rewards of another great chapter in your personal book of running.

The Roller Coaster of the Marathon Season!

Each year I work with beginner to veteran marathoners as they enter into their next marathon season.  Whether in search of a Boston qualifier, a PR, or to just finish it’s going to be a long grind.  It takes patience, consistency, and the ability to adapt to the unforeseen circumstances that will come their way.  Programs will last anywhere from twelve to eighteen weeks, depending on experience and the goals of the athlete.   In the northeast you can settle for the fact that you will be building your base in the heat of summer or in the ice and snow of winter.  The fact remains that you will face your share of adversity in all of your marathon campaigns.  Many of which they will have absolutely no control over and be forced to make the best of in order to conquer your marathon goals.

Each week you will spend between six and fifteen hours of your life grinding it out on the roads, trails, or treadmills.  This doesn’t account for prep time, fueling, refueling, strength, rehab, or recovery time.   The commitment here is real and it takes a special athlete to manage everything that life will throw in your way.   There is work, family, friends, sickness, injury, and the weather all to be accounted for.  Then there are the completely unforeseen life tragedies that will come our way and leave us wondering if it’s all worth it.  Below is a collection of quotes on how the adversity of the marathon season has affected these prospective spring marathoners.

Diane Harris: “I have faced the largest adversity that I’ve ever seen in this training block.  Between my travel schedule and awful weather there have been moments that I’ve just wanted to give up completely.   But by keeping in contact with my coach to adjust workouts and having a super-strong running support system it has helped to keep me focused on the goal.”  #Bostonbound2018

Ariane Hendrix:   “I have to remember that one bad run, race, or injury does not determine the entire season.   we have had terrible fires out here in California this winter and many days where I just could’t run outside.  I have to remember to keep fighting because In the end it will all be worth it!”
Adrienne Ruscika:  “I remind myself that comparing myself to others or even my past self when coming back from injury is completely unnecessary and detrimental to my current training. Everyone is different and every training cycle is going to be different. What matters is being smart, putting in the hard work, and working on mental toughness so that I can execute on race day.”
 Kim McGregor Law:  “As I get older I have had to reevaluate some of my goals, and as a runner I have found that having a good plan, working smarter, listening to my body is the key.   I can still have big goals and patience will get me there!”
Christine Carbonetti:  “Learning that not every run should be at medium to medium hard pace has been very beneficial in my training.  This was especially true in my last training cycle for Philly.  Keep the easy runs EASY so that you can perform and hit your paces on your hard days.”

Jessica VanKirk:  “Every season is completely different and I never know what to expect.  This season has been particularly tough for me, but I’m trying to remember that I want to be a lifelong runner not a once in a lifetime runner.   I have to allow my body time to heal from injury and I will run again stronger and faster than before.  My friend told me that I’ve encountered a few speed bumps which lead me on a detour.   I will make it to my original destination, it may just take a little longer than expected.”

Mike Routhier:   “Just because you have been a runner for more than 20 plus years, doesn’t mean anything.   I’m glad that I finally decided to try something new and get the perspective of training through the guidance and support of someone else.  This has been hard for me since I had always done my own training plans and have always been in absolute control.”

Michelle Davis:  “It seems impossible until it’s done. It seems unthinkable until you find yourself doing it. 🏃marathon training” 💪

Zach Hill:  “Winter Marathon Training: Just… git… er… done!!!”

Top 10 Winter Recovery TIPS!

 

The RECOVERY season is upon us and it’s time for a much needed break from the fall racing season as we prep for an amazing spring campaign!  In this article we will give you our  Top Ten recovery Tips to help you maximize your winter recovery/running and have you ready to crush all of your spring goals.

Everyone knows how much we all love running through the winter in upstate New York!  The temperatures are brisk, winds are strong, and the snow is flying.   How can we make the most out of this time of the year and get ourselves optimally prepared for spring racing?  Is it possible to race hard all year round and expect ourselves to be at our best when it really counts in our peak spring season?  How can we optimize this time of the year and get ourselves optimally prepared for the upcoming spring racing season?   Here in Albany we have the Winter Series and supported long runs throughout the coldest months of the year.  It doesn’t get much better than that as they are a great resource for runners here in the capital district to get great supported long runs in with a gang of folks.

At Nark Running we always designate December through mid-January as one of our two annual RECOVERY BLOCKS of the year.  The other of which is from mid-May through the end of June and corresponds with the end of the spring racing season.  These blocks depend on which peak races we have run and what races our annual plans consists of.  These recovery blocks are one of the most important and most commonly neglected time periods in most training plans.   There is no better time to begin to apply our  Top Ten Recovery Tips than when the holiday season is upon us and the first snows of the season are falling.  Our training volume has decreased, races are sparse, and speed work is not a priority in our weekly running schedules.  Here we go!

Top 10 RECOVERY TIPS

1.   Mental Healing:  As runners we are psychologically and unable to maintain our highest levels of mental fitness all year long.  In order to be in top shape for our peak races we must have give our central nervous system (CNS) a break.  The mental stress of hard training and racing takes a toll and must be honored if we are going to smash our goals in the spring.   It’s these down times that allow us to rest and regenerate our minds and give us an opportunity to get sharp again in the new season.  After all it takes great focus, motivation, and determination to execute our plan and complete a long enduring season.

2.  Less Is More:   Although training volume and intensities are significantly reduced at this time it gives our body’s a chance to absorb all of the past season’s exercise stimulus.  At this time we adapt to all of the training stress that our body has endured over the course of the past season.   Most folks have the hardest time understanding that losing fitness, gaining some weight, and shifting priorities for a short time is a good thing.  During this recovery time the “Less Is More” principle is such a great concept to embrace and to allow ourselves to reap the rewards.

3.  Musculoskeletal Healing:   Our muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones need a break from the constant pounding of the roads and trails.   The constant repetition of training and racing can eventually break us down if these recovery breaks are not inserted in to the plan.  This recovery time where we rest and reduce mileage gives our structure a much needed break and allows it to have a chance to regenerate.   While completing our running season and big races we do damage on a cellular level to our skeletal muscle and immune system.   Neglecting these breaks can lead us to be more susceptible to illness, over training staleness, and injury.

4.  Physiological Adaptations:   While running we use use three main energy systems to provide use with energy and power to propel us across the land.   Our aerobic, anaerobic, and creatine phosphate systems cannot function at their highest levels constantly throughout the entire year.  This is why in most training programs that a periodized approach to training is used to improve fitness levels towards a peak season of races.   We train these systems in a strategic order in hope of developing the highest possible levels of fitness and the fastest race times.  As our lactate threshold and Vo2 Max climb to new heights and we are able to sustain faster and faster paces over various race distances.  In our recovery phase these markers of fitness come back down as volume and intensity of running is diminished.  Our energy systems get a chance to stabilize to normal levels, get recharged, and ready for the upcoming season.  The mark of a quality training program is one that takes advantage of these down times as a calculated priority of training.   After your recovery is complete we begin to rebuild your systems towards the peak levels that will be needed later in the season.   You crush your big races at the end of the season, you reset, and start over again with this process.

5.   Don’t Race:   The winter recovery block is a critical time to limit or even completely eliminate hard racing and high intensity speed work.  Every season new runners come to me with misguided ideas of racing in their recovery and early base phases.   I highly encourage and recommend that the priority at this time of the year be rest and easy base building.   We always take advantage of the early HMRRC Winter Series for supported long runs but wait until February to begin higher intensity workouts or early season races.   Performing intense speed workouts or racing too early or too frequently in a training block lowers the body’s blood pH (a measurement of acidity levels)  and can sacrifice optimal seasonal gains later. (A. Lydiard)   Folks that abuse this fact may collect a pie at the Hangover Half but find themselves flat when the more spring serious races come about.

6.  Shift Priorities (temporarily):  This is the season to focus on some other things that may or may not be running related.   When we are in serious training there are many things in our lives that may get neglected just because of our training.  This down time is great time to catch up with family, non-running friends, and just do activities that you may just not get to in the regular season.   These fresh new activities will do wonders towards getting us refreshed and sharp for the season ahead.

7.    Goal (soul searching):    As we know, without goals we can’t be optimally successful in our training and racing.   Goals are an essential piece to the puzzle that give us direction, motivation, and guidance in our season.   Sometimes it can get difficult to decide on what our next season’s goals are going to be.  We lack clarity and the ability to decide on what exactly we want our priorities to be.  Sometimes a little time away from running can get us the clarity needed to once again make an assault on our best past performances.  This recovery time is a great time to rethink our priorities and get new, exciting, and challenging goals established.

8.   Get Strong:   Recovery time is the greatest time of the year to begin to get strong again.  Our muscle tissue takes a whipping during the regular racing season.   Our skeletal muscle fibers (fast and slow twitch) are pushed to the absolute max as we consistently train and race a variety of distances up through the ultra marathon.   A solid strength regime designed for runners can address this overall muscle fatigue and weakness that has developed throughout the season.   We recommend continuing strength throughout the season but it’s understood that sometimes as running volume peaks and the big races ensue it can be tough.  The recovery block is a great time to once again begin to prioritize the gym and address our strength deficiencies.   This is the time to focus on bolstering our CP (Creatine Phosphate) Fast Twitch system while fortifying a foundation of complimentary strength to assist our aerobic system demands.

 9.  Plateau Busting:   Plateaus in running performance will happen and sometimes they can totally halt your desired progress.   Our mind and body can get tired, overworked, and just plain stale.  The training and racing that we did before seem harder than ever while the results are not up to our usual standards.  The recovery block is a great time to address this issue and get the refresher that we need.   For longevity and consistency purposes in training these proactive breaks will keep us sharp while being able to once again regain former peak fitness levels.   Take a couple strategic annual breaks each year and train more consistently than ever in 2018.

10.  Injury prevention:  In order to be a successful runner we will need to stay injury free and consistent in our training.   The December/January recovery time is a great time to get any minor injuries or nagging discomforts under control.   In many cases a small break from training can be the remedy needed to get rid of any nagging muscle or joint soreness.   These recovery breaks will be essential in keeping an environment in place that promotes a trend of continuous improvements over the long haul.

Is the Runner’s Strength Project right for me?

Last weekend, we launched The Runner’s Strength Project(RSP) and the response has been great! Runners everywhere are now using the program and are already enjoying it.  Coach Mat is manning the Facebook page, taking questions and providing even more content on how to use strength training to help your running.

We’ve received some great questions about the program so we thought we’d have Mat write up the most common ones so you can determine if the Runner’s Strength Project will help your running.

Q: Why did you create the Runner’s Strength Project?

A: I’ve been using this system with my runners for a number of years and having great results. In order to ever reach your potential as a runner it’s essential that you are injury free and consistent in your training. A few years ago, I saw that too many runners coming to me were weak and couldn’t stay consistent in their training. I knew that if I could create a strength program that would give them the strength to handle running and also fit with their run training and busy work/life schedules, they would excel. That’s where this program was born.

Q: How do I know if the RSP is for me?

A: The RSP program is designed to accommodate all ability levels of runner.  Because the program is progressive, you’re able to pick the appropriate exercise scheme to meet your individual needs and adjust recovery times as needed to control intensity.  Just like run training, having a strength program that can easily be modified to meet the needs of many different ability level athletes is extremely important and a key aspect to any successful program. Remember, everyone requires different levels of exercise stimulus to get her where she wants to go in a safe manner. I’ll guide you through that process in the RSP and monitor the RSP Facebook page to answer your questions as you train. (You can even check out a complimentary core workout I just posted on the RSP Facebook page. Click the image below.)


Q: What is the difference between the RSP program and the other strength programs for runners?
A: I think what Greg liked when he visited my gym and saw the results from my runners was that this program takes the best of strength training (so the training is uber-efficient) and blends it with run training. Since I’m a running coach and strength coach, he liked that the strength program we offer is 100% specialized for the exact needs of the runner.  He’s not a fan of strength trainers that push their runners so hard in the gym that their running suffers.  As a running coach, I understand that. I want runners to be strong but this can’t interfere with their run training. The two must work together. That’s the idea behind the RSP.

It’s also important to acknowledge that runners have very special strength requirements as the day to day demands of our sport are very significant.  You must be tough to be a runner!  A unique level of specialization in training is needed so we are sure not to overstress the lower body of the runner.  This is an area where many strength programs for runners go wrong.  As runners we need complementary strength, not just strength that is just going to wear us down. That’s why we see the best results with routines of shorter repetition ranges.  Our main focus with this program will be on the torso, hips, core, and upper extremities – the parts of the body that provide us with essential stabilization and support to power our running movements. 


Q How can the RSP help me today?

A: By getting started today we can get your body adjusted to your new program before you get into your more serious summer run training or preparation for a fall half or full marathons.  Adding RSP to your program will have an almost immediate effect on your upcoming races.  You will also be able to tolerate a heavier training load in the coming months and will recover much quicker from tough running workouts.

The ability to recover faster, train more consistently, and add some extra work into your program is often that extra push that you need to get you to the next level in your running.  It will make the last half mile of a 5k so much more tolerable and allow you to dig down and finish with that finishing kick that you have been lacking.  And for marathoners, those last 4-6 miles of the marathon can actually be enjoyable with a little extra total body strength.  A common theme of the past season with my marathoners was the statement, “I never hit the wall and I could have kept running right past the finish line!”  Get STRONGER, FITTER and FASTER this year with the Runner’s Strength Project.

Ready? Let’s get started
Runner’s Strength Project

MEGA Half/Marathon PRS at the Shore and Everywhere in Between!

New_Jersey_Marathon_Primary_Logo_2014_2c-1

The weekend of May 1st turned out to be very productive weekend for the NRS family.  We competed at a handful of events and exceeded expectations in many cases.  You will not always have the best weather on race-day and must adapt to the conditions that you are given.  As always our athletes were prepared for anything and delivered on the BIG day.  We have featured 5 athletes below and their feelings following their big peak races.  In running you won’t always achieve your goals and there can be great disappointment following events where you underperform.  In our case we MUCH to celebrate following this past weekend of activities.

The Tiberio x 2 connection absolutely CRUSHED IT in their half marathons while BIG Mike rocked out a stellar 1st marathon with Miss Konderwich at his side!

Andrea Maynard and ‘My Girl” Emily Russell both delivered over 2 min improvements in their half’s.

John Sullivan and Katelyn Mennella both whacked a homerun in Albany with a 10k PR and a race win!

Cebula, Beardsley x 2, Bowden Wise, and Jim McMorris all continued to deliver consistent performances right on time!

Erin Wrightson (Thelittlerunnergirl) made one more step towards her sub 3:20 marathon with another season Pr!

The “Running Renegade” Erica Trimble finished her 1st marathon just a hair over 4 hours and Cara Wolf rocked the Long Island half w a 4 min PR.

IMG_20160503_135910

I’ve been working with Mat for about 17 months now and I’ve improved my marathon time from 3:28:00 down to 3:13:32 at New Jersey.  We sat down at our initial meeting to talk about my goals and he created a program specific to me and the results speak for themselves.  Not only has Coach Nark helped me get faster, he also helped me learn how to be a more efficient and smarter runner.

Dan Brady

20160503_132814

Kelly Piotrowski

I joined the Nark team last May to train for my first marathon. Based on everything I had previously heard, it seemed like the obvious place to go to get a solid training plan that would ensure I could complete a marathon. Little did I realize that the program was so much more than merely a weekly training plan. It’s a program that allows you to have the opportunity to interact and work out with some of the most talented, enthusiastic, and kind runners in the area. The Nark team paired with rigor and intensity of my training plan has allowed running to mean much more to me than solely trying to finish a race.  I recently completed my second marathon and had my second  PR of 7 minutes. I have also PR’d in the 5k and half marathon on the way to this fabulous weekend.

“One thing that this program has opened me to is the “running life” – which I’d take anyday over a PR!”

20160503_132902
 Lynn Hansen
 I have improved by over 14 minutes. My running routine before was just running the same pace for all runs. I have learned to push myself during speed work and long runs while beginning to enjoy the slowness and benefits of a recovery run (this was harder then making myself run faster). After a injury in the fall, I added strength workouts twice a week and saw immediate benefits. As a mother of three with a full time job, making the time to fit in my workouts was at times a scheduling nightmare but the progress I saw made it worth. The benefits of working with others has really surprised me – I was a bit intimidated by some of the ultra fast runners but I soon started to learn from their experience and applied to my training.
 Colleen Murray
 20160503_132842

2016 has been my most epic racing season to date … I’ve been running since 2008, in all distances but focusing on at least 2 marathons per year … Over the years, the marathon distance has become my nemesis … I’ve tried several methods to increase my success with this distance, but had only been able to achieve 3:52:52 alone …  Since coming over for both with strength and run coaching, I have shaved 17 minutes off my marathon time … Most recently completing NJ marathon 3:35:26 …. And most importantly negative split by 3minutes and 32 seconds and crossed the finish line feeling amazing !!  Aside from this distance, my 5k time and half marathon times have improved dramatically.

Frank Gwinn

 20160503_132430
When I first got started I was coming of an injury and hadn’t run in 6weeks. I wondered if I’d ever run again. Not only have I completed two marathons with NRS but I PR’d at multiple distances with. Including a 15 minute marathon PR. I have remained injury free and I’m a more accomplished and confident runner
New Jersey Half/Full, Middlebury Half and everywhere in between turned out to GREAT events for many as we come near the end of our 2016 spring season.
FB_IMG_1462118077694

Check out these AMAZING results:

Allison Connor 3:34:18! No PR but ran with Mike Konderwich and Colleen Schermerhorn-Murray and had an amazing day!!

Emily M Russell 1:35:53, 2:23 PR!:)

Michael Cebula 1:38:45 – No PR – No hip pain – Even pacing – Happy!!
Colleen Schermerhorn-Murray 3:35:41 (8:09/mi) .. 7:00 PR !!!! 💕💕💕
Kelly Piotrowski 3:49:20 (8:46)…6:30 PR with Lynn Doody Hansen !

Lynn Doody Hansen That’s right!! We killed it! Big thanks to Kelly for pushing me through the last miles after that darn Boardwalk killed my legs and feet!

Tom Tiberio 1:33:03 – 7:06 – 5:03 PR

FB_IMG_1462448212692

Melissa Tiberio 2:03:30 (9:26)- 3:32 PR
Cara Platt Wolff 2:09:28…9:50…4 min PR!
Phil Yoss 3:39:04 (8:17) … first non triathlon marathon so definitely pr. Could have paced better.

Jim McMorris 1:45:19 – 8:03 pace. No PR but very close to target

Mike Konderwich 3:34:16 – 8:11 – PR – First Marathon!

Lynn Doody Hansen 3:49:20 – 8:46 – PR of 7:30!

Erin Wrightson 3:26:06 – 7:50 pace- 3 1/2 min PR — also this team is freaking amazing!!! So happy and proud for all of you!!!

FB_IMG_1462124854049
 G. Bowden Wise 4:29:35. No PR.

Erika Akers Beardsley 1:47:31 – 8:13 pace – no PR but I gave all I had and I am blessed to run another day (not tomorrow but another day). Happy to be getting better each one gets me closer to where I was

Mary Walsh 2:23:39-10:58 pace-3 second PR! If I ever learn to run tangents I’ll be all set. My watch had me at a 10:50 pace for 13.25 miles! But, it’s still an official PR…just woulda been a better one for 13.1. But I’m pleased 😊

FB_IMG_1462143400317

Dennis Beardsley 1:33:38 7:09 Nine pace no PR I left nothing on the table
Andrea Marie 1:36:12- 7:21 pace. I guess the course was a bit long so my GPS gave me 13.19 at 7:18 pace. I PR’d by 3 minutes and 9 seconds. Still working on finding a gel that doesn’t reek havoc on my stomach. I got 7th for women and 1st in my age group smile emoticon

Jessica Bashaw 1:25:47 – 6:33pace – PR of 35 seconds
Erica Trimble 4:00:17 – 9:09 – automatic PR

FB_IMG_1462364986536
Bill Drapeau Some really awesome performances here! Congrats to all!!
John Sullivan Truly inspiring performances! I will channel your energy on 6/12…..if you don’t mind wink emoticon
Rachel Preusser 1:36:19- 7:21 pace- no PR- lots of puke but I know what I did wrong and how to correct for the real deal in May.. lesson learned
Katelyn Mennella 25:06 – 8:06 – no pr
Whitney Frazier Earnest 2:07:18 – 9:44- no pr but race WIN!
John Sullivan Spring Run Off 10K – 46:21/7:28. PR – not sure on time diff but 7:28 beats the 5K pace I’ve been working from.

GET YOUR CONSULTATION NOW!

FB_IMG_1462097047340

How Do You Measure Your Success As A Runner?

 

How can I get faster?

Am I improving?

Can I do It?

How fast can I get?

Am I good enough?

Running is a sport that is truly based on your own individual improvement.  It’s you verses yourself and at the end of the day the only thing that matters is whether or not your time has improved.  We challenge ourselves to improve on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis.  It really doesn’t matter what our competitors, friends, and team members do as long as we have put our best foot forward and have been true to ourselves.  Surely we aren’t always going to be thrilled with all of our performances as that would be far to simple.

banner-girl

Running is a sport that requires a tremendous amount of dedication, consistency, and drive.  Fabulous results will come only to those that put in all of the necessary hard work.  It’s all about getting out for that early morning AM run when all you wanted to do was sleep in.  Bundling up on a sub-zero afternoon to bang out that six mile loop that you have done so many times before.  Going to the track for your weekly speedwork in the heat of the day as that was the only time possible to get it done.   It’s all of these actions that will get you to the finish line that much faster.  Repeating these activities over and over and putting your best foot forward with every step will get you there.

home-nark

How do you quantify your success as a runner?  So many get caught up in the game of comparing themselves to others and what everyone else is doing.  This comparative strategy will only lead you astray and leave you constantly walking in the shadow of others.  Your success as a runner is truly measured by the level of personal enjoyment, fulfillment, and progress towards your individual goals.   For some this may be the conquering of the five hour marathon or in other cases it could be the hurdle of the thirty minute 5k.  It’s all a matter of setting yourself some tangible goals and reaching them in a your chosen timeframe.

I want to do it!

I can do it!

I will do it!

I did it!

Only a select few of us will ever get the opportunity to grace the front page of Runner’s World as seen below.   Set some goals, get a plan together, and get busy training for those goals.  In given time you will all have the opportunity to celebrate the fruits of your labor and enjoy all of your running success.

11692753_10206995042345289_7643109409701163929_n

 

Source: http://blog.narkmovementstrategies.com/?feed=rss2

Chasing The Unicorn: How The Little Runner Girl Will Earn Her Boston Marathon Qualifier.

Hey Guys! It’s Erin over at the Little Runner Girl and I am so excited to talk to you guys about why I made the leap and decided to get a coach.   I have no plans to be an elite runner (even if I did have plans, I’m not sure they would come to fruition, I am just being honest here!)  So why would I hire a coach?  Running coaches aren’t just for experienced or elite runners.  They are for everyone!  Whatever level of runner you are, whatever you are hoping to achieve (losing weight, running any distance from 5k-marathon, Boston qualifying), everybody can gain something from hiring a good  coach.  I already had this post in my head and when my coach asked if I’d want to guest post on his blog I knew this was the perfect post.  He gave me free rein to blog about whatever I wanted, but with fall marathon training about to start, this seemed like as good of a time as any.

Finishing the OK 5k 2 weeks ago with a :40 second PR-- 3 weeks after I started with Nark Running Strategies

When I started running about 2 years ago, I didn’t know many runners and I didn’t know anything about running. I immersed myself into learning anything and everything I could.  I read every article, reached out to people via social media to ask questions and searched tons of blogs.  I ran every training run solo.  I got injured and still ran #runnerprobs.  It was mentally draining training through the summer for a fall marathon and not having anyone to keep me accountable or anyone to share in my whining and complaining on 20 mile runs in 90 degree heat. If my plan called for a certain track workout, I had no idea how to execute it properly.  I didn’t know what a tempo run was, what a fartlek was or even just how to properly train for the goals I hoped to accomplish. Google was my friend ( ie: how to run yasso 800’s). I joined a local running club for a few track workouts and runs, but it just didn’t seem for me.  I still had no idea what I was doing and I felt dumb asking how to do the workouts (Don’t feel dumb, please ask.  You’ll save yourself lots of time and frustration).   I would attempt them on my own and give up because they were hard.

 After training for my 2nd marathon this past winter, I knew I wanted and needed more out of myself and my running.  I reached out to a runner friend, Allison, who had joined Plaza Fitness/ Nark Running Strategies back in January (she finished her 3rd Boston Marathon in 3:17:31 this year).  She had NOTHING but great things to say about the group and about her coach, Mat, and it sounded exactly what I was looking for.  When I checked out the Facebook group, I noticed how they really motivated and encouraged each other (I also saw how many PR’s were being achieved.)  Falling just short of my BQ in April and already looking ahead to Chicago in the fall, I knew this was the time to get some help.

Allison and Deanne at mile 17.5 of this years Boston Marathon.

There are tons and tons of different training plans out there and I know a lot of people who have had success doing it that way.  I find it more difficult because the training plan is generic.  It’s not tailored to my needs and goals.  Using a training plan that had no speed-work while training for the NJ marathon this year probably wasn’t the best choice for me when I was trying to earn a BQ.  And like I mentioned above, I didn’t meet that goal.  I had reached the point in my running where I did everything I knew how to do and couldn’t figure out how to push past the barrier.  I needed guidance and so after a few back forth emails and meeting Mat, I hired him to help me reach my goals.

logo-home

 A running coach designs your training plan to optimize your performance and simultaneously minimize your injury risk.  I told Mat about my past training and what my goals were for the summer and for my fall marathon.  One thing I never made a priority was strength training so, in addition to coaching, I also signed on for two strength training classes a week.   I ran my first 5k 3 weeks after joining and had a 40 second PR.  My previous 5k time was from April at the peak of marathon training when I was in fantastic(ish) running shape.  This 5k PR was just 2 weeks ago and coming off of marathon recovery.  I could already see a HUGE difference.  I felt ready.  My body felt stronger and my running seemed to flow easier.  Even my form was improving.  That weekend there were 23 PERSONAL RECORDS achieved by Nark Running Strategies runners.  I don’t think I have to make a convincing argument that the training I/we are receiving helps us in every aspect of our running.

11392853_1176810132361220_2947207474901727387_n

Before I would just follow whatever plan I had chosen (loosely) and sometimes would just completely change a workout.  With my training plan done for me every Sunday, I don’t need to question why I’m doing a specific workout or run because my coach knows what my goals are and what I need to be doing to achieve them.  Instead of going out racing every weekend like I used to, I did one 5k this month to see where I was fitness wise and my next race won’t be until mid-July.

Coaches are the voice of reason and seem to be the only people on planet earth that can rein a runner in  and explain why recovery and rest are important parts of training.  And surprisingly, I listen.   My goals for this training cycle are a sub-21 5k and a sub 3:30 marathon in Chicago.  More than anything though(okay, equal to wanting a BQ), I’d like to go through this training cycle injury free.  Something I NEVER(this is not an exaggeration) included in workouts was a warm-up and cool-down.  A good coach will make that a priority and every speed-workout I do, Mat includes both.   When you are injured less often, you can train more consistently.   Coaches keep you accountable and consistent. I believe that what sets apart good training versus great training is consistency.  When you train more consistent, you become a better runner and ultimately your coach can help you become faster and more fit than you ever thought possible.  Staying consistent means staying motivated and a coach keeps you on your toes and reminds you why you are working so hard.

Hill repeat recovery

Long story long, if you’re having trouble figuring out your next step in your running, it’s probably time to hire a coach.  The great thing about hiring a coach is that they are accessible ANYWHERE.  Maybe you travel a lot or you like to get your run done in the mornings, you don’t need to have a coach physically by your side every moment of your training.  Your plan will be there for you, you fill out your log for them to review and they will be there for you with any questions or concerns you may have.  I have texted my coach at 6am (sorry) and at 10pm (sorry again) whenever I have a question about a workout or to see if I could possibly maybe run a race next weekend (the answer was no.) If you are dedicated about reaching a goal and willing to go the extra mile in your training then investing in a running coach is 100% worth it.  Do the research, ask questions and run fearless.

unnamed

If you’re interested about learning more about my work with Nark Running Strategies, visit my blog over at The little runner girl and I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have!  If you’re even more interested about joining us for group runs and training, check out the website or facebook for more info!

Happy running!!

 

 

Source: http://blog.narkmovementstrategies.com/?feed=rss2

Running Results That You Can See!

11187393_1154346727940894_2740015848614079000_o

This past weekend our Nark Running Strategies @ Plaza Fitness Performance team produced some unbelievable results at a three different events.  Our half and full marathoners were in New Jersey, Cherry Blossom 5k folks in Niskayuna, and duathlon athletes were in Delmar.

In Jersey we hit a home run with eight of nine runners getting new marathon personal best’s.  On the half I missed my PR by eleven seconds (1:21.49), Mike Cebula got his second half PR of the season, and Jennifer Meissner also came very close at 2:00.01.  Mike Dinicola nailed a 1:26.46 in his 1st half marathon and is begging for more.

Kara Defeo – 3:24.54 –  2 min marathon PR

Jennifer Newman  –  3:57.26  –  7 min PR-14 mins in 2 years

Heidi Nark –  3:32.01  –  20 min marathon PR

Bill Drapeau – 3:18.51 – 11 min marathon PR

Dennis Beardsley – 3:16.05  –  Amazing marathon debut!

10430850_10203688500524123_3207869586930416292_n

Mike Cebula  –  1:36.16 –  21 sec Half PR/ 2nd PR this spring

Erika Beardsley –  3:47.27  –  13:03 Improvement

Steve Montanaro  – 3:39.08  –  5 Min PR and perfectly executed pacing.   Colleen Murray –  3:49.36 –  1 Min PR in 13th marathon

At the Cherry Blossom 5k we also had a phenomenal day with eight PR’s on the day.  Korey got under that 6 minute pace barrier, Dan Brady came close to 20 minutes, and Kara Plue was on fire with over a minute new personal best.  Nicky got under 25 mins, Ringer has a two minute improvement,  Deb Petridis got under 27 and Mary Walsh broke thirty minutes for the first time ever.  Well deserved achievements by a bunch of folks that have earned it!

11182207_10206590343620151_8146909938584628903_n

Michelle LaRock –  31:31 – 2:13 min improvement

Frank Gwinn – 24:09 – 5 second improvement

Mary Walsh –  29:55. 32 second PR…but the real news is that it’s my first 5k under 30 minutes!!!

 

Nicole Moran –  24:57 – 13 second PR

10906363_10206590348940284_8098624486266255792_n

Deb Petridis – :57 sec  5k PR to 26:50

Dan Brady –  22 sec PR to 20:11

Kara Plue –  24:29 – 1:17 5k PR

Korey McCoy – 18:07 –  30 sec 5k PR

While the rest of us were running, Mike Conroy and Tiberio x 2 went to town at the Delmar Duathlon.  Great job by all on a very exceptional weekend.  Here comes the fall marathon block before you know it.

11174221_656806457779977_194607246783676223_o

Source: http://blog.narkmovementstrategies.com/?feed=rss2

20 Strategies to Kick Ass at The Boston Marathon!

 b marathon

  1. You will have had a solid breakfast and bring a balanced snack/drink to start
  2. You will have atleast 4 gels for race
  3. You will dress warm to the start line
  4. You will drink as many carbs as possible at water stops
  5. You will not slow down at water stops
  6.   You will run the shortest route possible and stay focused on the tangents
  7.   You will get on goal pace and stay there
  8.   You will not stop for a potty break unless PR is out of question
  9.   You will have all priority body parts lubed up to prevent chaffing
  10.   You will only wear gear that has been used many times before (no exceptions)
  11.   You will hydrate and fuel early and often during race
  12.   You will have a razor like focus that doesn’t allow you to stray from your plan with all the excitement
  13.   When running with a partner you designate one watch in which to follow so that there are no pacing debates during race
  14.   You leave your partner whenever needed!
  15.   Make those early downhill miles as effortless as possible
  16.   Race starts at 18-20 miles
  17.   You will attack the last 6 miles with unseen ferocity
  18.   You will give 110% of yourself in this RACE!
  19.   The only thing that will stop you is you!
  20.   You will enjoy post race party!
  21. Bostonmarathonlogo

Source: http://blog.narkmovementstrategies.com/?feed=rss2

20 Habits of Super Successful Runners!

If you’re an aspiring runner or a veteran of the sport this list will help you to run faster times. This list of 20 proven strategies will guide you to your next PR and keep you as fast as possible.  Running is a sport that has a very high rate of injury and therefore it is a necessity to master these principles.  In order to be a super successful athlete is this sport it is essential that you avoid the common pitfalls of running injury.  The more that you can remain consistent in your training the more successful you will be at improving as a runner.  Below I have compiled a list of guaranteed strategies that will help to guide you in becoming the fastest runner possible.

results

1.  Soft surface runs:  The pavement and concrete of the sidewalks is tremendously brutal on your musculoskeletal system.  Get off the hard surfaces as much as you can and take advantage of trails whenever possible.

2.  Complete rest days:  Recovery from training is just as important as the training itself.  For most 1-2 days off a week is very appropriate and will insure that you stay fresh and rested for training.

3.  Set tangible goals:   Set goals that truly can be achieved!  Many folks set goals that are simply not possible in one particular training block.  Many factors should be considered when setting goals and they must be reflective of ones ability level, commitment, and aspirations.

4.  Recovery days:  All hard efforts and long runs are followed by a recovery day of running.  Keep those days super slow or off from running to allow proper adaptation to occur from tougher training days.

5.  Race pacing plans:  One of the most common errors that runners make when racing is that they start their races too fast and are forced to drag themselves to the finish line.  The longer the race the more important this concept will be to master.

Reactive Core Training for Runners

6.  Adaptable training programs:  Cookie cutter programs that don’t change to meet the challenges of life and the individual needs of the athlete will not be ideal.  The best programs are built to be changed (at anytime) to optimally accommodate busy life schedules.

7.  Post marathon recovery:  Although there is no answer for everyone here I recommend two weeks of rest or significant mileage reduction before beginning the next season.  If you begin the next mileage buildup on worn out legs you are setting yourself up for what will be a less than optimal training block.

8.  Build long runs gradually:  Whether you are training for marathons or shorter races it’s very important that you build these long runs progressively.  Raise the volume for a couple weeks then reduce or take a break from at least once a month.  The long run will be a staple of training and will solidify your stamina and endurance for faster racing and speed work to come.

images

9.  Address injury immediately:  After all this dynamic will be one of the quickest to put an end to your season.  Always be keenly aware of aches and pains that you may feel and adjust training accordingly.  Take an extra day off or skip sped work sessions to allow your body to recover fully before pushing on.

10.  Strength train:  A regular strength training program will help to keep you resistant to injury and training consistently.  By lifting weights one to three times per week and doing exercises that complement your running you will be stronger and more stable to absorb the stress of your running program.

11.  Have a racing schedule:  During your base phase it’s key to not race and build your mileage.  Once that base is established it’s recommended to have some regular races in your schedule to allow yourself to assess your progress and check on your fitness level as you approach key goal races.

12.  Practice how you want to race:  Run training, speed work, tempo runs how you would expect to race.   Practice even or negative split running in practice so that you are comfortable on race day and can stick to your pacing plan.

a t

13.  Energy system variation:  Most folks have a couple of workouts that they repeat over and over throughout their training block.  To achieve better results it’s recommended that you vary your workout stimulus to facilitate optimal training improvement and physiological adaptation.

14.  Fueling on longer runs:  As we run we burn our energy resources down at roughly 75-100 calories per mile.  In runs lasting for more than an hour it’s essential that you replace those carbohydrate stores to keep your fuel tank full for the upcoming miles ahead.

15.  Nothing new on race day:  Never try something new on race day!  If you haven’t done it in practice then don’t attempt it in competition.  Many problems can arise when you switch shoes, clothing, nutrition, or try a new race plan on race day.

16.  Compete against yourself:  So many folks make the huge mistake of comparing themselves and their training programs to that of their teammates and competitors.  This will only lead to discontent and loss of focus on ones training program and objectives.  Strategies that work for one athlete may work differently or not at all for another.  Some athletes will prosper off of high mileage while others will get same results from less.  Be your own athlete and focus on your goals to achieve optimal success.

10300446_1127281150647452_4917446596453379344_n-2

17.  Have a support network:  By training with a group you will be more consistent and will be able to conquer your workouts with ease.  Sometimes you will need that extra push out the door and someone to discuss and plan race strategies with.

18.  Be patient:  Running is a sport that takes time to get where you want to go.  Results will come to those that are consistent and driven towards the goals that have been set.  There will be times of elation and those of deflation as you wind through running seasons.  As you become more and more experienced new personal best’s will take a bit more planning and execution to achieve.

19.  Eat and sleep a lot:  Along with the rigors of a demanding training program comes the need for extra nutrition and sleep.   Many athletes neglect their nutrition and fall short on much needed rest.  Keep the engine fueled and get those 7-8 hours of sleep per night to achieve optimal results.

20.  Reward yourself:  When you crush those old PR’s or hit those mileage goals be sure to reward your efforts.   It takes a lot hard work and determination to be consistent and continuously improving in your running journey.  Have yourself a bountiful dinner or treat yourself to some mixed drinks to celebrate your achievements.  You earned it!

train smart

Source: http://blog.narkmovementstrategies.com/?feed=rss2