Monday, July 8, 2024

Considering Running A Marathon. Am I Crazy?

Lately, I keep having this "crazy" idea that I want to run a marathon. Back in high school, in the 1980's, I wanted to run one, but I never did. Before I had the chance, I moved to Miami and struggled to acclimate to the heat. I had grown up in Minnesota so you can imagine the change. Just for reference, I now live in North Carolina but the summers are still crazy hot here. But at least there's some semblance of  seasons. 

I've been a runner pretty much the whole time. However, Between 1998 when my first child was born and today it's been sporadic at best. I'd say the last time I was in decent shape still was in 2012 when I broke 2 hours for the Half. I ran a 1:57 and really did not train at all. In 2013 I ran another Half-Marathon with no training but was a little over 2 Hours. Why does it matter the times? Well, after that Half, I pretty much stopped running. I would run a 5K here or there, but nothing consistent. 

In 2018, I ran a 10K with my son and after the award ceremony, I could barely walk to the car. I was in excruciating pain! I tried to rest, I tried to stretch, but nothing really helped. I had a horrible case of Plantar Fasciitis. Literally a couple of years went by but every time I thought I had taken enough time off, the pain would come back the moment I ran. 

Long story short, I switched to minimalist shoes after reading Born to Run and it changed everything! I trained and ran, completely pain free, a Half in 2022, but my time was 3 hours and 6 minutes. 

So - Knowing all that, I am now in a situation where I find myself regretting that I ever stopped running. And I'm having regrets that I never took on the Marathon. There's one coming up in March, 2025 here in Asheville where I live. It's incredibly flat so it seems like the ideal introduction to the Marathon. If I attempt it, I would not be looking to compete at all obviously. My goal would be to just complete it and beat the cutoff time of 6.5 hours. 

So, why am I crazy? I work in Elections. Is it crazy to try to train for a Marathon during a Presidential Election year when I'm working 60+ hour weeks? Is it crazy to train for a marathon in barefoot-style shoes? Is it crazy to train for your first Marathon at age 57? The answer to all of this is - maybe. 

However, here's my thoughts: 

  • If not now, when? Yes, it will be hard to train with work being so crazy, but I'll have all Summer and Fall to ramp up mileage and save the really long runs for December, January and February - my favorite months due to the temperature. 
  • I'm never going to be this young again and I'm sure there have been people that ran their first marathon later than this. 
  • The Tarahumara runners mentioned in the book, Born to Run, run ultras in sandals. There are also completely barefoot distance runners such as Zola Budd in the 1984 Olympics and Abebe Bikila in the 1960 marathon. He won in Olympic record time running barefoot!  
So - Registration opens up for the March Marathon in Asheville on July 17th. I have about a week to decide. 

Yesterday, I went out for a four mile run. But it had been so long since I had run on the greenway, I remembered the 2 mile turnaround incorrectly. Instead of 4 miles, I ran 5.57! I was going really slow and didn't want to look at my watch for fear it would take me out of my running trance, which is why I wasn't aware of the 2 mile mark. What was so great about this run was that even though I was slow, I ran the whole time. Just two weeks before I had tried to run 3 miles and had to walk two different times. This got me thinking that with the right mental state, I can actually train for and run a Marathon. 

I know this sounds weird - saying "maybe I can actually run a marathon" - I have coached numerous people to their first marathon so I don't know why I should be any different. I guess we all have those demons that sit on our shoulder and tell us we aren't good enough. I ran again tonight for just a short run and felt good. All signs are pointing to me signing up for a Marathon next week. I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Common Concerns About Hiring a Running Coach

If you have been struggling to hit that PR or perhaps if your running is just lacking lately, you may have considered hiring a running coach. By why hire a coach? It's running. Just go out and run, right? Well, not necessarily. Let's look at some of the common concerns people have about hiring a running coach and how they might be better than expected:


Running coaches can be expensive, and some people worry that the investment won't be worth it.

Consider this: While coaching can cost a good chunk of change, a good coach can help you reach your goals faster and avoid injuries, potentially saving you money on physical therapy or missed races down the line. You can also find budget-friendly options with group coaching plans or introductory sessions.

Finding the Right Coach

There are a lot of coaches out there, and it can be tough to find one that's a good fit for your personality, experience level, and goals.

Do your research! Look for certifications, experience with runners at your level, and reviews from past clients. Talk to a few coaches before settling on one to see if their coaching style meshes with yours.

Time Commitment

Training plans can be demanding, and some people worry that they won't be able to fit all the runs in with their busy schedules.

A good coach will create a plan that considers your lifestyle and available time. They can help you be efficient with your training and make the most of the time you have.

Will I Enjoy It?

Running with a coach can feel more structured and less spontaneous than running on your own.

This is true, but a good coach can also help you discover new ways to enjoy running. They can introduce you to different types of workouts, keep you motivated, and celebrate your successes along the way.

What if I Don't See Results?

It takes time and effort to see improvement in running, and some people worry that they won't see the results they're hoping for.

A good coach will help you set realistic goals and track your progress. They can also help you troubleshoot any setbacks and keep you on track.

By addressing these concerns upfront, you can make an informed decision about whether or not hiring a running coach is right for you.

If you'd like to learn more about my approach to coaching, or how I can help you run faster and injury free, please contact me. At the very least, follow me on Instagram @AshevilleRunningCoach for free tips and trick to help you run better. 

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Top 10 Strategies to Successfully Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions

With the New Year a week in, many of us have embarked on a journey of self-improvement by setting resolutions. However, the challenge lies in staying committed and making these resolutions a lasting part of our lives. In this article, we'll explore the top 10 strategies to help you stick to your New Year's resolutions and achieve your goals.

  1. 1. Set Realistic and Specific Goals: Start by setting clear, achievable goals. Instead of vague resolutions, define specific and measurable objectives. This will make it easier to track your progress and stay motivated.

  2. 2. Create a Plan: Develop a detailed plan outlining the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks, making the journey more attainable and less overwhelming.

  3. 3. Prioritize Your Resolutions: If you have multiple resolutions, prioritize them based on importance and feasibility. Focusing on one or two key goals at a time can prevent feeling overwhelmed and increase your chances of success.

  4. 4. Share Your Goals: Share your resolutions with friends, family, or a supportive community. Announcing your goals makes you more accountable, and the encouragement from others can provide the motivation needed to stay on track.

  5. 5. Track Your Progress: Keep a journal or use a tracking app to monitor your progress. Regularly review your achievements, no matter how small, and adjust your plan accordingly. Celebrating milestones will help maintain your motivation.

  6. 6. Establish a Routine: Integrate your resolutions into your daily routine. Building habits takes time, but consistency is key. Incorporate your goals into your schedule to make them a natural part of your day.

  7. 7. Stay Positive and Practice Self-Compassion: Understand that setbacks are a normal part of any journey. Instead of dwelling on failures, focus on what you've learned and how you can adjust your approach. Practice self-compassion and maintain a positive mindset.

  8. 8. Seek Support: Surround yourself with a support system. Share your struggles and successes with those who can offer guidance and encouragement. Joining clubs, online groups, or finding a resolution buddy can make the process more enjoyable.

  9. 9. Incorporate Rewards: Establish a reward system for reaching specific milestones. Treat yourself to something special as a way of recognizing your hard work. Positive reinforcement can significantly enhance your motivation.

  10. 10. Adaptability is Key: Be flexible and willing to adjust your goals or methods if needed. Life is unpredictable, and circumstances may change. Being adaptable will help you stay committed in the face of challenges.

With these strategies in mind, you can significantly increase your chances of sticking to your New Year's resolutions. Remember, the journey towards self-improvement is a marathon, not a sprint. Stay focused, be patient with yourself, and celebrate every step forward on your path to success.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Conquer Your Longest Runs: Top 5 Tips to Make Them Epic


Conquer Your Longest Runs: Top 5 Tips to Make Them Epic

Long runs are the cornerstone of any solid running plan. They build endurance, boost confidence, and prepare you for race day. But let's be honest, sometimes they can feel like a drag. The miles tick by slowly, and your mind can start to wander.

But fear not, fellow runners! Here are my top five tips to transform your long runs from endurance tests to epic adventures:

1. Embrace the scenery:

Running outdoors offers a fantastic opportunity to connect with nature. Take advantage of this! Choose scenic routes with stunning views, lush forests, or calming coastlines. Soak in the fresh air, listen to the birdsong, and appreciate the beauty around you. It'll do wonders for your mood and motivation.

2. Fuel your journey:

Proper nutrition is crucial for long runs. Pack healthy snacks like energy gels, fruits, or nuts to keep your energy levels up. Don't forget to stay hydrated by carrying water or a sports drink. Remember, your body needs fuel to perform its best, so don't skimp on pre-run and mid-run nutrition. Your long run is also a great time to experiment with your gels and find out the timing that works best for you when it comes to refueling. 

3. Break it up:

Long runs don't have to be solitary endeavors. Run with a friend, join a running club, or find a running buddy online. Having company can make the miles fly by and provide much-needed motivation and support. Plus, it's always more fun to share the experience! You don't even have to have a friend for the whole run. Maybe arrange for someone to join you for the last half or for a section where you always feel you need a push. It's up to you!

4. Embrace the mental game:

Long runs are as much a mental challenge as they are physical. Be prepared for moments of doubt and fatigue. Practice mindfulness techniques like meditation or positive self-talk to stay focused and overcome negative thoughts. Remember, your mental strength is just as important as your physical fitness.

5. Celebrate your accomplishment:

Every long run is a victory! Take time to acknowledge your achievement and reward yourself. Enjoy a delicious post-run meal, take a relaxing bath, or do something you enjoy. Celebrate your progress and stay motivated for your next long run adventure.

Bonus Tips: Don't be afraid to experiment! Try listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks to keep your mind engaged. However, keep the volume low so you can hear traffic, cyclists, other runners, etc. Consider running a loop course so you can easily access water and snacks. And most importantly, have fun!

Long runs can be challenging, but they can also be incredibly rewarding experiences. By following these tips, you can transform your long runs into epic journeys that help you reach your running goals and enjoy the process along the way.

Happy running!

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Top 5 Tips to Avoid Injury in 2024

As a runner, you know the joy of pounding the pavement and feeling the wind in your hair (or what's left of it in my case). But even the most dedicated runner can be sidelined by a nagging injury. Fortunately, many common running injuries are preventable with the right approach. Here are my top 5 tips to help you stay healthy and keep running strong in 2024:

1. Listen to your body.

This might seem obvious, but it's crucial to pay attention to your body's signals. Don't push through pain, especially if it's new or getting worse. Listen to your fatigue levels and take rest days when needed. Remember, progress takes time, and pushing too hard too soon can lead to injury. If your gait is at all affected by the injury, don't run!

2. Build your base.

Before tackling ambitious goals, ensure you have a solid foundation. Gradually increase your mileage and intensity over time, aiming for a weekly increase of no more than 10%. This allows your body to adapt to the demands of running and reduces the risk of overuse injuries.

3. Embrace the power of strength training.

Stronger muscles and bones are better equipped to handle the forces of running. Incorporate strength training exercises into your routine, focusing on core, glutes, and legs. This will improve your stability, power, and overall running performance. This doesn't mean you have to get a gym membership. Bodyweight exercises will do just fine.

4. Warm up and cool down.

Properly preparing your body for and after a run is crucial for injury prevention. Start with a 5-10 minute dynamic warm-up, including light cardio and stretches that engage the muscles you'll be using. Finish your run with a 5-10 minute cool-down, including static stretches to promote flexibility and recovery.

5. Take care of your feet.

Invest in good quality running shoes that are right for your foot type and gait. Replace your shoes regularly, typically every 300-500 miles. Consider incorporating foot strengthening exercises into your routine to improve stability and reduce the risk of foot-related injuries. Running barefoot on a grassy field helps strengthen your feet too. 

Bonus tip: Don't forget the importance of proper nutrition and hydration. A healthy diet provides your body with the fuel it needs to recover and rebuild. Staying hydrated helps prevent muscle fatigue and cramping, allowing you to perform at your best. Stick to the outer aisles of the grocery store and avoid the packaged, processed junk foods in the middle. 

By following these tips, you can significantly reduce your risk of running injuries and keep enjoying the sport you love. Remember, consistency and a smart approach to training are key to a long and healthy running career.

Additional resources:

Running strong and injury-free is possible! Stay motivated, train smart, and keep running!

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Ditch the Outlet, Embrace the Effort: This Non-Motorized Treadmill Will Supercharge Your Workouts

Too cold to go for a run, but also too cold to head to the gym for a treadmill workout? Don't have the space or the money to spare to have your own treadmill at home? Forget clunky and pricey motorized machines and say hello to the kotia Non-Motorized Treadmill;your sleek, portable powerhouse for high-intensity cardio workouts anywhere, anytime.

Unleash Your Inner Beast:

  • Motor-free mayhem: Ditch the power cord and tap into your own primal energy. This treadmill's self-powered belt responds to your every stride, mimicking natural outdoor running for a more engaging workout.
  • 10° incline challenge: Push your limits with a 10-degree incline, transforming your walks into calorie-torching climbs.
  • Safety first: Twin flywheels and high-friction side mats bring you to a smooth stop whenever you need, so you can focus on pushing your limits, not worrying about them.

Convenience Meets Compactness:

  • Fold it, store it, conquer it: This treadmill folds up in a snap, occupying a mere 0.29 square meters. Tuck it away in a closet, under your bed, or even take it outside for a breath of fresh air.
  • Built for your busy life: Transportation wheels make it a breeze to move from room to room, so you can squeeze in a quick workout anywhere.
  • No outlets, no worries: Power your routine, not your treadmill. This is freedom of fitness redefined.
I will admit I'm not a big fan of running of treadmills. I really prefer to be outside. However, sometimes, it's just too cold and it's actually safer to stay home. This would be an ideal option if you lack space and money. Right now, this non-motorized treadmill is only $162.99! 

If you do insist on running outside, make sure to dress warm. A hat, gloves and leggings/tights. Compression shirts make a great base layer under your outwear. If it's windy or the air is exceptionally cold, consider a gaiter to pull up over your mouth and nose. 

Note: I do receive a small commission if you use the link I've provided above. 

Friday, November 3, 2023

Unwrap Joy: The Top 5 Christmas Gifts Every Runner Will Love

Today, my favorite 80's station was playing Christmas music...and that can only mean one thing! The holiday season is upon us. So it's the perfect time to show your love and appreciation for the runners in your life. Whether they're a seasoned marathoner or a beginner hitting the pavement, finding the ideal Christmas gift can be a rewarding challenge. To help you in your quest, I've compiled a list of the top 5 Christmas gifts that will leave your favorite runner lacing up their shoes with a smile. So, let's unwrap the joy of giving with these fantastic running gift ideas!

Please note that I have provided Amazon links to the items I mention. If you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. Happy Shopping!

1. Running Shoes: The Perfect Fit

Every runner knows the importance of a good pair of running shoes. And there's no better feeling than slipping into a brand-new, comfortable pair that's tailor-made for their needs. Brands like Nike, Adidas, Brooks, and New Balance offer a variety of styles to suit different running styles and foot shapes. Gifting the right pair of running shoes can make a world of difference in their training and races.

2. GPS Running Watch: Your Running Companion

For runners who like to track their progress, a GPS running watch is a game-changer. It provides valuable data such as distance, pace, heart rate, and even GPS navigation. Brands like Garmin, Suunto, and Fitbit offer an array of feature-packed options. A running watch can be the perfect running companion, with added features like music playback and advanced training metrics.

3. Running Apparel: Keep Them Cool and Comfy

Running apparel made from moisture-wicking and breathable materials is a must-have for any runner. Consider gifting high-performance running shirts, shorts, tights, or a lightweight jacket. Look for reflective and visible gear for added safety during those early morning or evening runs. Quality running attire can help them stay comfortable and stylish as they conquer miles.

4. Foam Roller or Massage Tools: The Gift of Recovery

Recovery is an essential part of a runner's routine. A foam roller or massage tools like a massage stick or massage ball can work wonders for alleviating muscle soreness and tightness. These tools assist with self-myofascial release, making them an excellent addition to any runner's recovery arsenal. Help your runner friend stay injury-free and ready for their next challenge.

5. Race Entry or Running Event Registration: Fuel Their Passion

If the runner in your life thrives on competition and the thrill of racing, consider covering the registration fee for an upcoming race or running event. This thoughtful gift not only shows your support but also fuels their passion for running and gives them a goal to work towards. It's a present that combines motivation and excitement, making it a unique and memorable gift.

Remember, it's the thought that counts. These gifts can help your favorite runner enjoy their journey even more, making their holiday season truly special. Whether it's a practical running gift or a heartfelt gesture, each of these presents is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Other honorable mentions include running accessories like hydration packs, running belts, compression socks, and gift cards to running stores. When selecting the perfect Christmas gift for a runner, be sure to consider their unique needs and preferences. With your thoughtful gift, you'll be spreading joy and motivating them to reach new running milestones in the year ahead. Happy gifting and happy running!

Considering Running A Marathon. Am I Crazy?

Lately, I keep having this "crazy" idea that I want to run a marathon. Back in high school, in the 1980's, I wanted to run one...