Saturday, September 23, 2023

I've lost count how many times I've "started running".

Starting Again - At the Beginning

Back in July I went for a run while on my anniversary trip. It was a trail run and up to that point I was having trouble with my feet again. Not really the feeling of Plantar Fasciitis, but it was definitely the fascia that was aching so bad. Usually, my minimalist/barefoot shoes fixed the issue, but it was starting to feel bad even wearing them. I thought perhaps a trail run - with softer ground than pavement - would help. OH MY GOD, it was so bad! I don't know if it was the uneven terrain or all the roots or whatever but I couldn't even run a quarter of a mile.  

Fast forward a month or two and my weight shot up to 200lbs! I always had it in my head that 200 was my breaking point. Well, I got there. I joined planet fitness and was working out several times per week, hiking a few days but really wasn't doing great with my diet. And as they say, you can't outrun a bad diet. Well, hell...I couldn't even run. 


In the last two months, I've used the elliptical at the gym - no stress or pounding - and I've been hiking rather than running. It's strange to me that hiking is fine but running was the problem. Anyways, This past week, I bought some insoles recommended by a running store. I know! I know! What about running natural? Well, it stopped working for me for whatever reason so I thought, what the hell. I'll give anything a try at this point. So I put the insoles in my Altras, (minimalist shoe with wide toe box - but not a  barefoot shoe) and went for a run. On Monday, I ran a mile, non-stop. I was so happy! Yes, there was some aches on the bottom of my foot, but nothing that was "painful". On Tuesday, I went for a hike. Wednesday, I tried another run and felt really good. Not sure what was different, but I the same mile and took a minute and half off my time from Monday. I really wasn't trying. I was running at a pace that felt good. Thursday, I went for a hike again and Friday and ran another mile non-stop. Not as fast as Wednesday's run, but that's totally fine with me. 

The last few weeks I've been trying to eat better too. I have found that logging what I eat into my Fitbit app helps with the accountability aspect. I can see the calories, the macros, etc. I've been avoiding - but not eliminating - fried foods, sweets and fast foods. I've done a good job cutting out Coke's too, which I swear cause my belly to blow up. Maybe it's the carbonation or something, but I swear when I drink a soda - even a zero sugar one - that I get belly-bloat. Yes- I did try Coke Zero even though you all know how I feel about fake sweeteners. 

Is it Working?

So, has working out, running and hiking and eating a little better helped? Today, I was down to 194lbs! I know it's only six pounds, but it's progress and I'll take it. 

Again, I've not eliminated fast foods, soft drinks and sweets. I've simply adopted a method of avoid as much as I can. Be strong when I'm feeling strong, but don't beat myself up if I "cheat" on the diet. Honestly, I think this has been the best approach for me. I have a bad habit of thinking I "deserve" a treat or a soda if I exercise, but that's obviously just going to keep me on the hamster wheel.  

It's so strange - knowing what to do, but not finding the commitment to do it. I am a certified running coach. I have a Kinesiology background. I know how to exercise. I know how to eat right. But with a stressful job, chronic running pains in my feet, it's like I gave up. I hit my 50's and for some reason just starting ignoring the advice I'd give any client. Advice I know for a fact works. 

What's the Plan Going forward?

Now that I can seem to run a mile, my plan is to very gradually increase my mileage and get back into running. I will take it very slow so as not to reinjure myself. Writing on here, even if nobody sees it is very cathartic for me so I will keep posting about my wins - and my setbacks. 

Happy Trails!

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Tips and Tricks to Keep you Running

Tips and Tricks to Keep Running

Have you ever felt like you needed to stop during a run but you didn't want to. You really wanted to push yourself, but your brain and your body were at odds? Here are some simple tricks you can use that should help. 

Visual Anchors

I'm not sure that "visual anchor" is the best term to use, but it works for me. I don't think of an anchor as a weight that keeps a boat in place. I think of it as a hypnosis-type anchor. A strong connection or feeling associated with a desired state or outcome. what does that mean in practice? 

When running, if you feel like you want to stop, pick a spot off in the distance. A telephone pole, a parked car. A building, tree, streetlight...doesn't matter. Just pick a point and tell yourself that you will get to that point before you can walk. Now - here's the second part of the trick - as you get close, pick a point just a little farther and tell yourself that's the new point. Continue to do this. More often than not, you'll find yourself forgetting you wanted to stop and you can stop using the visual anchors.

Counting Steps

This may sound weird, but taking your mind off running and thinking of something else is another form of hypnosis I use when running. Let's say you're running and you want to stop. No problem, tell yourself you can stop after 100 steps with the right leg. Now you just start counting every time your right leg touches the ground. Almost always, this distraction will get you back into the zone and you'll continue running. 

Change your pace

Sometimes, changing your pace can be just enough to keep you going. Of course, you have two options: Speed up or slow down. 

Slowing down works well if you're running a faster pace than your easy runs. It can easily extend how far you run by adjusting your pace. 

Speeding up, believe it or not, can help you run farther too. For just a block, a minute or to some random point you pick out off in the distance, pick up your pace. You'll find that you are recruiting different muscles or the same muscles in a different way. Often this can be just enough of a change so that when you settle back to your prior pace, you can keep going. 

I hope these help. What strategies do you use to keep going when the going gets tough?

Saturday, July 8, 2023

How to Create a Running Plan

How to Create a Running Plan

I don't care if you want to run a mile or a marathon, you will benefit from having a training plan. And guess what? Creating a training plan is essentially the same no matter the distance. Any plan will need to factor in easy days, rest days, speed work and long runs. Those are the four ingredients of any running plan.


When I'm coaching runners, I like a 12 week plan. I break it up into 3 x 4 weeks.

Base Phase: Four weeks long. This is where I focus on building up mileage and getting runners used to running. I don't do much if any speedwork. Just easy days, rest days and long runs. 

Strength Phase: Four weeks long. Here I will have them add in speed work like hills, rolling hills, repeats and tempo runs. 

Speed & Taper Phase: 2-3 weeks long. In this phase, I will have runners do intervals, down hills runs, fartleks and tempo runs. The remaining 1 or 2 weeks will be tapering down to make sure the legs are fresh for the running event they've been training for. 

Easy Days

You may have heard of the 80/20 Rule. It seems to be the new buzzword, but honestly, it's just good, age old advice that's been re-packaged to look shiny and new. The majority of your runs should be easy. What is easy? Conversation pace. This is the pace you can run and still talk to your running buddy.

Rest Days

Everyone needs a rest day or two. You may feel like you can run 7 days per week. You might even be right. However, I can promise you will get better by taking a rest day or two. When you take a rest day, you allow your body time to adapt to the stress that comes from training. You come back stronger and faster over time. 

When you are starting out, I'd suggest 2 rest days per week. You want to ease into training. 

Speed Days

Speed days can be on or off a track. Intervals and repeats are most often done on a track, but they don't need to be. You could do them on a street or in a park. Then there's Fartleks and Tempo runs. I like Tuesdays and Thursdays for my speed days.

    Repeats are run hard. Like a gym workout, you will have a number reps to achieve. Typically, each rep is run at race pace or faster. Your rest period will be equal to your time spent running hard. For example: Run 6 x 400m at race pace with 400m for recovery jog.  You could also do timed repeats such as 6 x 2:00 at race pace with a 2 minute recovery jog. After the recovery period, go into the next rep and repeat.   

    Intervals, like Repeats, are run at a hard pace that you determine. Typically race pace or faster. They are similar to repeats but your rest period will be shorter than the time running hard. For example, 6 x 400m at race pace with a 200m jog for recovery.  You could also do timed intervals such as 6 x race pace for 2 minutes with a 1 minute recovery jog. After the recovery period, go into the next rep and repeat.   

    Fartleks are usually run on a road or trail, but they could be done on a track. A fartlek is Swedish for "Speed Play". Simply go for a run, but periodically, pick up the pace. You can do mile pace, 5K pace, half marathon pace...whatever you want. Just play! As for how long, you can play with that too. Do it for a minute. Do it to that tree way up ahead. Run 20 light poles's totally up to you. 

    Tempo Runs are run at a pace you could hold for an hour. Think 10K pace here. But you won't run it for an hour. You'll only run the tempo run for about 20-30 minutes. 

Long Runs

The long run is just that. It's your longest run of the week. You'll only do this once per week. I like Sundays. Now, the question is, how long should a long run be? An easy answer would be a run longer than your typical runs. Be we won't be so easy. 

I would suggest keeping your long run to between 20% and 50% of your other weekly mileage. If you are just starting out running a mile per day, 5 days per week. Then a 2.5 mile (50%) long run may be a little too  far, but a mile (20%) isn't any longer than your usual run. So maybe bump it up. However, if you are a super athlete running 2.5 hour marathons and you're running 100 miles per week, I would NOT recommend a 50 mile long run. This is where a running coach comes in handy. 

But realistically, for easy math, let's say you run 4 miles per day, 5 days per week. That's 20 miles. A long run of 4-6 miles (20-30%) would be good starting out and work up to 10 miles (50%) for a long run. 


In summary you should have a training schedule that looks like this for the 2nd and part of 3rd phases:
  • Sun - Long Run
  • Mon - Rest
  • Tues - Speed
  • Wed - Easy
  • Thu - Speed
  • Fri - Easy
  • Sat - Rest
There are of course things I didn't get in to that you would want to consider: Form runs, stretching, warm ups and cool downs, etc. But that's for another blog post. 

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Preventing and Treating Achilles Tendonitis

Preventing and Treating Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is an injury that affects the Achilles tendon, which is the largest tendon in the body and connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It's caused by overuse and can result in pain, stiffness, and swelling in the back of the ankle.

To prevent Achilles tendonitis, it's essential to stretch and strengthen the calf muscles regularly. Here are four tips:

  • Stretch your calves before and after your runs.
    • Before your run, do dynamic calf stretches like mountain climbers or lunges.
    • After your run, do static stretches like the wall push.
  • Strengthen your calf muscles with exercises such as calf raises and heel drops.
  • Gradually increase your mileage and intensity. 
    • As I've mentioned before, 5-10% is typical, but it can depend on injuries, weekly mileage, etc. As your running coach, we will look at your plan and adjust accordingly. If you are acting as your own coach, make sure to back off on the mileage every 3 weeks or so to give your body some recovery. 
  • Wear shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning.
    • As I've mentioned before, I've had great success with barefoot shoes but to each their own. If you are unsure which shoes to get, try getting fitted at a specialty running store. Yes, it may be more expensive, but you will be sure to get the proper sizing. 

If you do experience Achilles tendonitis, the best course of action is to rest, ice, and elevate your ankle. Over-the-counter pain medication can also help reduce inflammation and pain.

As a running coach, I specialize in helping runners prevent and recover from injuries, so they can continue to enjoy their runs. Please reach out if you have any questions or would like to learn more about my coaching services.


Saturday, June 3, 2023

Runners Knee: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Runner's knee is a common injury that affects the knee joint and can cause pain and discomfort. It's caused by overuse, poor running form, and weakness in the muscles surrounding the knee joint. If you're experiencing pain around your kneecap, especially when running or climbing stairs, it's likely you're suffering from runner's knee.

To prevent runner's knee, it's essential to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint and improve your running form. Here are a few tips:

  • Strengthen your quadriceps and hamstrings with exercises such as lunges and squats. The daily dozen exercises I recommend include lunges and burpees...which have that squat element. 

  • Focus on your running form and avoid overstriding. You should have a slight lean forward as you run. Slight!  Your hips should be over your mid-foot strike. 

  • Wear shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning. As mentioned in the last article, I actually run in "barefoot" shoes and it's made a huge difference for me. But again, everyone is different. For as long as I can remember, I ran in Nike Pegasus as my trainers and never had a problem until the 2020. I don't know if they changed the design or what, but they never worked for me again. 

  • Gradually increase your mileage and intensity. The general rule of thumb is no more than 10% per week. I actually advise my runners to do 5-10% based on check-ins to see how they feel, how they're sleeping, etc. Every third or 4th week, we'll back off on the mileage to help recover before increasing again. 

If you do experience runner's knee, the best course of action is to rest, ice, and elevate your knee. Over-the-counter pain medication can also help reduce inflammation and pain.

As a running coach, I specialize in helping runners prevent and recover from injuries, so they can continue to enjoy their runs. Please reach out if you have any questions or would like to learn more about my coaching services.


Saturday, May 27, 2023

Understanding and Preventing Shin Splints


If you're a runner, you're probably familiar with the term shin splints. It's a common injury that affects many runners, especially those who are just starting out or increasing their mileage. Shin splints are caused by the overuse of the muscles in the lower leg, which leads to inflammation and pain along the shin bone.

To prevent shin splints, it's essential to incorporate strength and flexibility exercises into your training routine. Here are a few tips:

  • Walk for 5-10 minutes to warm up & then stretch your calves and shins. Stretch them again after your runs. 
  • Gradually increase your mileage and intensity. The rule of thumb is no more than 10% each week. As a running coach, I usually bump up mileage 5-10% per week for three weeks and then back off for a week. I think start increasing again. There are so many variables and every runner is different, hence the range. 
  • Wear shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning. If you follow me, you know I actually run in "barefoot" shoes with no support. This has helped me but everyone is different. The important thing is to find shoes that work for you and stick with them. 
  • Cross-train with low-impact activities, such as swimming or cycling, to give your lower legs a break. It's also a great way to improve your running in general. 

If you do experience shin splints, the usual course of action is to rest, ice, and elevate your legs. Over-the-counter pain medication is also recommended to reduce inflammation and pain. One thing you won't see too often is switching from ice to heat after the pain subsides in a couple of days. 

If you're struggling with shin splints or any other running-related injuries, I can help. As a running coach, I specialize in helping runners prevent and recover from injuries, so they can continue to enjoy their runs. Please reach out if you have any questions or would like to learn more about my coaching services.



Saturday, May 20, 2023

How to Set Running Goals

In this post, I'd like to provide you with some tips for setting running goals. Goal setting is an important aspect of improving performance and staying motivated. Here are a few of my recommendations:

Make your goals specific

Set clear and specific running goals rather than vague ones. For example, instead of saying, "I want to run faster," specify a target time or distance you want to achieve. Specific goals provide focus and direction.

Set realistic and achievable goals

While it's essential to challenge yourself, make sure your goals are realistic and attainable. Setting overly ambitious goals can lead to frustration and demotivation. Consider your current fitness level, previous running experience, and available time for training when setting your goals.

I actually like to set 3 goals. One that I'd be happy with. One I'd be excited to get. One I'd be totally jazzed if I got it. All within reason, naturally. For example, I'd be happy with an 8 minute mile. Really happy with a 7:45. Totally pumped if I ran a 7:30. All would be very reasonable given the amount of time you have to train.

Use the SMART framework

Apply the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) framework to your running goals. Make sure they are specific, measurable, within reach, relevant to your overall objectives, and set a deadline for achieving them. For example, "I will run a 10K race in under 50 minutes within the next three months."

Break goals into smaller milestones

Divide your long-term running goals into smaller, manageable milestones. Achieving these milestones along the way provides a sense of accomplishment and helps maintain motivation. For instance, if your goal is to run a marathon, set smaller goals of completing a 10K, a half marathon, and so on.

By doing this, you get that sense of accomplishment along the way which keeps you motivated.

Focus on process-oriented goals

While outcome goals (such as winning a race) are important, it's crucial to also set process-oriented goals. These goals focus on the actions and behaviors that lead to success. For example, committing to a specific number of training sessions per week or improving your running form can be process-oriented goals.

Monitor and track progress 

Keep a record of your running sessions, times, distances, and any other relevant data. Regularly review your progress to stay motivated and assess whether adjustments are needed. Tracking your progress can also help identify patterns, strengths, and areas for improvement.

I used to use a journal book. Then I switched to excel. My Fitbit now captures everything and I'm sure you've heard of Strava! Click here for some great journals at

Be flexible and adapt 

Recognize that circumstances may change, and it's okay to modify your goals when necessary. Life events, injuries, or unexpected setbacks can impact your progress. Adaptation and flexibility are key to maintaining motivation and continuing to make progress.

Share your goals

Consider sharing your running goals with a supportive friend, running group, or coach. Verbalizing your goals to others can increase accountability and provide a support system. Others can offer encouragement, guidance, and motivation along the way. Social media is a great way to do this too. You can't let your followers down. Plus, it gives you content to post. 

Remember, goal setting is a dynamic process. Regularly reassess your goals, make adjustments as needed, and celebrate your achievements along the way. Enjoy the journey and focus on the progress you're making in your running endeavors.

I've lost count how many times I've "started running".

Starting Again - At the Beginning Back in July I went for a run while on my anniversary trip. It was a trail run and up to that point I was ...