Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Sub 8 Mile Attempt: Update

Well, my last post was October 11th when I ran a test mile to see where I was starting from. Turns out, I was very close to an 8 minute mile as my time was 8:15. I was super excited to train and hit my goal of sub 8. 

Life Finds a Screw up Progress

Well....Life happened. My job ramped up as soon as the election started gearing up. Absentees went crazy this year due to Covid-19. Early voting started in Mid-October. Election Day in early November. Since then, we have had Canvass (where we certify the election), a Statewide recount and now the possibility of an eye-hand recount. Needless to say, my running and my 5K progress all came to a screeching halt. 

I was running 2 miles almost daily with a 5 mile long run and my 5K was sub-30 which was my initial goal. After my 8:15 mile, I found it much easier to run faster times for my 2 and 3 mile routes. I think I got over excited and wasn't resting as well as I should have. Also, I was missing a week at a time and only running on weekends. Needless to say, old injuries starting hinting that they would reappear. I took time off to focus on work. As a result, I'm basically starting somewhat over. 

Hitting the Re-set Button

I have been running just a mile every other day, and this past week 1.5 miles every other day to ease back into things. My job is still crazy - yesterday I spent the day driving all over the State - but not as bad as it was the last two months. I feel good and have my winter running gear ready so I'm not going to let the cold stop me.

I will gradually up my mileage 5-10% each week and start adding back a longer run.  My goal is to hit the track once per week for speedwork like quarter repeats and get my mile below 8. 

Keep checking back for my progress and hopefully I inspire you to keep running, or get back into it.

Happy Trails!


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Mile Time Trial - I Now Have a Starting Point

Chasing an 8 Minute Mile

For those of you that follow, you know I set out this year with a goal to run a 5K. I did that. Then I set a goal to run a sub-30 5K. I did that running a 28:39! My latest goal is to continue to get faster. But rather than set a new 5K goal, I figured what I need is speed. As a result, I decided I'd do a mile time trial to see where I'm at "speed" wise and go from there. My short term goal for the mile is to break 8:00 minutes. I assumed given how I feel on my 5K runs that I'd be able to knock out an 8:45-8:55 mile. 

The Result of my First Time Trial

I was pleasantly surprised when I crossed the line this weekend in 8:15! I'm so close to breaking an 8:00 minute mile. Once I accomplish this, I'll then set goals in 30 second increments. I don't plan to ever get back to my glory days of a 5:00 minute mile, but who knows? I've got the rest of my life to try, right? 

Here's the first video in my pursut of my short term goal of an 8:00 minute mile.

Stay tuned and check back with me as I try to break 8, then 7:30, then 7:00 and so on. The benefit of getting a faster mile, is of course a faster 5K so it's a win-win for me.

Happy Trails!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

SUB 30:00 5K - ACHIEVED!!

For those of you that follow me, you know at the beginning of the year, I couldn't even run a mile without 4 or 5 walk breaks. I had heel pain, hip was awful! But I stopped trying to run like the old me and instead trained myself the way I'd train a client. Let me tell you, that was not easy. I'm stubborn and think I should be able to dive right back into running so slowing down and following a program was tough. 

A while back I successfully ran a 5K distance which was my main goal to work up to. My next goal was to try and break 30 minutes. I was able to accomplish this much faster than I thought I would. See the video below:

How I Did It

I ran every other day and ran a tempo run at least once or twice per week. I also ran a long run once per week which at first was two miles, but over time became 5. 

For strength, I did push ups every other day to develop arm strength for the all important arm swing. Move your arms, and your legs will follow.

What's Next?

Now that I'm under 30 minutes for the 5K, I plan to up my long run to a 10K once per week, increase my every other day runs to a 5K distance, up from my current 2-3 miles and continue to do push ups. I do plan to add speed work to my routine once or twice per week and try to get my mile time down to an 8 minute mile. In all honesty, I have no idea how fast I can run a mile. I'm going to see this coming weekend. I feel I can run an 8:45 or maybe a little faster.

By lowering my mile time, I will of course lower my 5K time, which is what I really hope to accomplish as I continue to run. 

Continue to follow me here or on my YouTube channel. Just look for the Asheville Running Coach and make sure to like and subscribe. You can also follow me on Instagram @ashevillerunningcoach.

Happy Trails!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Quest to Run a Sub-30K

Major Sub-Goal Achieved!

Today I achieved a huge milestone for me! I ran 5.04 miles non-stop! I was so exited!! I went out knowing I was going to run at least 4.1 and then if I felt up to it, I was going to add on a mile loop in my neighborhood. I got back home in 4.1 miles and felt really good so off I went! 

The extra mile actually felt better than some of the other miles, believe it or not. Below, is my YouTube post about my experience today.

So why was I so excited about 5 miles? Well, back in January, I weighed 197 lbs. I could not even run 1 mile without several walk breaks and even then I had really bad foot pain. Plantar Fasciitis is nothing to play with, let me tell you. Don't even get me started on the hip pain!

So what Changed?

A lot has changed! Instead of going out and trying to run like the old me that could roll out of bed and run 13.1 with no training, I decided to be my own client. That's right! I wrote myself a training plan for a former runner, overweight, over 50 with no flexibility, hip pain, foot pain and a major loss of motivation. It was a real wakeup call to see it on paper. 

I started out with just a 1.5 mile loop that I would walk/run and gradually I ran more and more. I started warming up and cooling down, adding some strength training to the mix and stretches for my hip and foot. As that got easier, I added in a long run and then each week or two, I'd increase slightly.  And here I am today, running 5+ miles non-stop, with no pain!

I'm also down to 171 lbs. which I know has made a huge difference. Keep following my journey. Now that I'm back to being able to run a 5K, I'm on a quest to run one faster than 30 minutes! Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Running & Weight Loss Success Story

Yesterday was the end of my 12 week Weight Watcher's Challenge. As I mentioned in my last post, I started 2020 at 197 lbs. It just seemed to creep up over an 8 year period when I went back to work after being a stay-at-home dad for almost a decade. I lost some weight thanks to a Gym Challenge I participated in and got down to 177 at one point, but thanks to Covid, finished at 185. After the challenge, I went back up to 191, and said enough is enough. 

I Needed Accountability

I started running again and even joined Weight Watchers so I felt I'd have some accountability. I can do exercise no problem, but I needed to really eat better. I love fast food, ice cream, chips, beer, etc...So I joined Weight Watchers. I signed up for a 12 Week discounted plan and figured I'd see what I could do in 12 weeks. Long story short, I started at 191 lbs. and ended at 174.8. 

Visible Results in 12 Weeks!

I have to say that my stomach is so much flatter. I even have some abs if I flex. I feel and look so much better now. An added benefit of the weight loss is that my times are getting much better too. Just the other day, I took 24 seconds off my two mile time! 

I am now 6 weeks out from my birthday so I'm going to continue with Weight Watchers and of course running and see if I can down to 160 lbs. which is what I was before i went back to work in 2012.  My ideal weight would be 150, but I think almost 25 lbs in 6 weeks is too much to lose in that period of time. The general rule of thumb is 1-2 lbs per week, so even getting to 160 (a 15lb loss) is going to be tough in 12 weeks without losing muscle.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Running for Weight Loss..

Once Upon A Time...

For those of you that don't know, I used to be a runner and a pretty darn good one. But I got job, got married, had kids and over the years I ran less and less. The last time I really considered myself to be a runner was in 2013 when I ran my last half-marathon. Sure, I ran a 5K or a 10K here and there, but that was the only running I did basically. I did virtually no training at all.

I Was Obese

Shortly after News Year Day, this year, I hit 197lbs. Keep in mind that when I was competing in local races I was 135lbs. At 160 lbs in 2013 I thought I was fat. So to be knocking on 200lbs this year was my Uh-Oh moment. I was technically "Obese" on the BMI Chart. I was pre-diabetic. I had all kinds of aches and pains. I could go on and on, but I'll stop there. Anyway, I decided enough was enough and I started actually using my Gym membership. I hired a personal trainer for 30 minutes, once per week to help get me started. Then the Gym held a competition. Being competitive by nature, I joined the 12-Week Challenge and I got down to 177lbs half way through. I was so EXCITED!

Covid-19 Strikes the Country

Then Covid-19 hit! They gym closed and I gained back some of the weight. I finished the 12 week challenge at 185lbs. Still a loss, but not the progress I wanted. So, with the gyms closed, I decided to go back to what I know: Running! I started coaching myself, which wasn't easy. I kept wanting to go out and run a long way, at a fast pace, and I couldn't. I was getting upset, unmotivated and ready to give up. But then I stepped back. I have had so much success in coaching others, I just needed to coach myself AND I had to be willing to be coached. So I created a plan for an overweight male, in his 50's to get him (aka me) back in shape.

How I'm Doing

Having a plan has been great. I'm running consistently. I'm having rest days and long runs and things are improving and the weight is coming off again. I'm back down to 177lbs, I'm now just "overweight" and all the aches and pains are gone. I was having a real problem with Plantar Fasciitis and I've managed to keep that from re-occuring. I even qualified as a National Finalist and won $50 to spend on gym merchandise, which was a great feeling!

Today I went for my 2 mile run. It was hot. I felt sluggish. I was holding back because I wanted to make sure I could run the whole way. I almost stopped and walked twice. It was not going well. And then something bizaare happened. I finished the run and looked at my watch, and I had taken 8 seconds off my best time for this course. No wonder I felt awful! I was cruising, but I didn't even realize it. 

You will have good days and bad days when you train. But every once in awhile, you'll have a day that proves that things are working and you are making progress. Stick the plan and the results will come.

Happy Trails.

P.S. If you would like to lose weight and need guidance, please send me an email. If you're a runner but you've stopped losing weight, I can look at your plan and help you. This actually happens very often and the solution is often simple. 

Friday, July 31, 2020

How to Break A Training Plateau (Part 5/5)


Often times I'll hear a runner say their training isn't working, but when I ask them if I can see their plan, they don't have one. they just go out and "do whatever" each day. Or they say "I just run 3 miles per day." Today, we will talk about the elements of a proper training plan.

>> Please reach out to me if you want my 12-week plan to run a faster 5K.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

How to Break A Training Plateau (Part 4/5)


As runners, we tend to think that it's all about speed. Everyday, going out and pushing harder than the day before. Today, we will talk about how running slower, will actually make you a faster runner.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

How to Break a Training Plateau (Part 3/5)


So many times I hear runners complain that they can't sleep, dread training and have just lost that desire to run. Here are some indications that you too are over-training.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

How to Break a Training Plateau Part 2/5


A lot of runners, in order to break through their training wall, make try to overcompensate and do too much too soon.

Monday, July 27, 2020

How to Break A Training Plateau - Part 1/5

Far too many runners gets frustrated that their training isn't working. "Why can't I run a faster 5K?" The answer usually can be found in their training plan and the solution is easier and more fun than you think...

The video below is part 1 of a 5 part series I'll be doing this week.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Why Long Runs Are Important

Why are long runs important? You often hear people talking about having to do their long run, but why? The long run offers many benefits that will make you a better, stronger and faster runner.

Psychological Benefits of a Long Run

By running long, runners will often experience what is known as a runner’s high. A rush of endorphins washes over you and everything is just right in the world. It’s such a cool feeling.

In addition, knowing you can run 8-10 miles or more makes running a 5K seem like a walk in the park. You feel almost bulletproof.

Musculoskeletal Improvements 

Long runs also help to strengthen your muscles, tendons and ligaments. This makes you not only stronger, but more resistant to injury. 

Cardiovascular Improvements 

In addition to the above, a long run also improves your endurance. By running for extended periods of time, you actually increase certain enzymes in your muscles. This causes capillary growth which in turn allows more oxygen to get delivered to your muscles, thus increasing endurance. 

How Long Should a Long Run Be?

I always recommend that your long run be 20-30% of your weekly mileage. So for example, if you run 30 miles per week, your long run should be 6-9 miles. 

I do not recommend a long run over 3 hours. Not even for marathon training. That amount of time takes a big toll on the body and could lead to overuse injuries.

If you’d like to learn more about adding a long run to your training, please let me know. I’d love to help you get your next PR. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Why Do I Bounce When I Run?

“Why do I bounce when I run?” is a question that comes up a lot. Sometimes it’s because someone pointed it out to you or perhaps you realized during a run as you witnessed the horizon bumping up and down. 

While I am a firm believer in the fact that different people have different running styles that work for them and their body, there things we can do to improve. 

Stride Length

If you watch elite marathoners, you’ll notice first that they look like their gliding and then that they have a crazy long stride. So you may be tempted to do the same. But this would be incorrect. As you get faster, and your running improves, you’ll notice a longer stride just naturally happens. But don’t force it. In fact, the reason you’re bouncing is most likely because you are over striding

To correct over striding, shorten your stride and go for a quicker turnover. The ideal is 180 steps per minute, but honestly, that would be a rather fast paced mile and not for everybody. 150 is more realistic in my opinion for the average runner. 

Metronome apps can help with this since you just run to the beat. But another, (easier way in my opinion) is to find a park and simply run barefoot. After a few strides, you’ll notice you’re automatically running with shorter steps and a quicker turnover. 

Landing Wrong

On my way in to work, I used to see the same guy running each morning with a huge bounce in his step. All his energy seemed to be in moving upward rather than forward. As I observed him from the red light one morning, I realized he was landing on the balls of his feet and then springing upward, rather than landing on his midfoot. While the action was very spring-like, and probably a great calf workout, it was a huge waste of energy and I imagine he was very prone to shin splints. 

Happy trails!

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Proper Fit for Running Shoes

Unless you go to a running specialty store, you may not know if a shoe fits you right or not. Sure, you can slip it on and walk around, but how do you know if it’s right? Here are some things to look for.

Is it the right size?

This may sound silly, but don’t just assume that because your current shoes are a certain size, the new ones will be the same. Different brands, different styles,  even the same shoe but as a newer model can cause variance in the sizing. I have running shoes that are 9’s. Dress shoes that are 8.5’s and boots that are 8’s. You have to try them on your foot. And just so you know, a half size is only about the thickness of an athletic sock.

Is it the right length?

Now that the shoes are on, test to see if they fit in the length. While standing, bend over or have someone else place their thumb sideways on the toe of the shoe. You should have a thumb’s width between your toe and the end of the shoe. Less than this and you can damage your toenails. More than this will cause your foot to slip and you’ll get blisters.  

Is it the right width?

With the shoes on, check the width by squeezing the front sides of the shoes. They should be fitted but not tight like they’ll burst and yet not loose like you have too much material. Another easy spot check is the center where the laces are. If the areas on either side with the eyelets/lace holes are too close or almost touching, that’s a sign the shoes are too wide. 

Last but not least...the “Last”.

The back of the shoe where the heel is at is called the last. If this is too loose, you can use the extra hole at the top of the laces to draw in the heel but try to find a shoe that you won’t need to. That’s just a personal preference. 

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Why Hire a Running Coach?

A lot of people ask me, “why do I need a running coach? Can’t I just go out and run?” Sure, you could do that on your own and most people do. However, most people give up, get injured, lose interest, etc. Why? Because they did too much, too soon. They overtrained, or got an injury because of poor stretching, if any. 

It’s similar to investing. Sure, I can open an account, make a deposit and buy stocks. But honestly, I don’t know which are good, which are bad. Which are under or over-valued. So the smart thing would be to hire an advisor or a financial coach. 

By hiring a running coach, you have someone that can guide you and create a plan specifically for you. Everyone is different and that’s why I recommend a running coach. Sure, there are decent one size fits all approach programs like the popular couch to 5K plans you hear about. But what if that is too advanced? What if it’s too easy? Then what do you do? Books on running a faster 5K are great. I have a bunch myself. But they won’t address things like plantar fasciitis or occasional hip pain or knee pain you might experience. 

A running coach will look at your goals, your starting point, any conditions/old injuries you may have and come up with a well rounded plan that works on speed, endurance, strength, flexibility and injury prevention. 

If you have any questions at all about hiring a running coach, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’ll even give you my opinion on a plan that’s not mine if you’re unsure. 

Follow me on Instagram @ashevillerunningcoach for daily tips, tricks, advice and other running info. Then check back here as I expand on my daily posts. 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Free Running Newsletter

In light of Covid-19, job losses and layoffs, I’ve decided the best way I can help is through running. As a result, I’m waving the $5 fee to join so EVERYONE that wants to can get the running advice they want.

On my Instagram page, I heard from a lot of runners that were upset that Track season was basically cancelled in most areas. For some, they no longer had a coach because the coach became ill. I wanted to offer an affordable way for anyone that wanted it, to get some weekly workouts so they could stay in shape.

By subscribing, you will receive all of the following:

  • Weekly workout ideas
  • Tips and tricks for running farther and faster
  • Nutrition advice 
  • Strength training tips
  • Running news
  • and more as the newsletter evolves.
To subscribe simply go to the Track and Trail newsletter page listed on the right side menu or click here:

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Become a Founding Member!

I am creating a weekly newsletter for just $5.00 per month.  Become a founding member of Track & Trail and keep that $5.00 rate per month for as long as you're a subscriber.

On my Instagram page, I heard from a lot of runners that were upset that Track season was basically cancelled in most areas. For some, they no longer had a coach because the coach became ill. I wanted to offer an affordable way for anyone that wanted it, to get some weekly workouts so they could stay in shape.

By subscribing, you will receive all of the following:

  • Weekly workout ideas
  • Tips and tricks for running farther and faster
  • Nutrition advice 
  • Strength training tips
  • Running news
  • and more as the newsletter evolves.
As a founding member, your rate will be just $5.00 per month and will remain at that rate as long as you continue to subscribe. Founding members are limited to the first 100 subscribers so act fast!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

I'm Running But I'm Not Losing Weight. Why?

"I'm running, but I'm not losing any weight.  Why is that? How can that be?"  

This is a question I often get from runners. The truth is, when most people train, they are running at an easy pace. Honestly, even when they run a 5k, 10k or even a marathon, they are going at a conversational pace, one that allows them to finish that distance.

Aerobic running is great for your cardio, don't get me wrong but it doesn't always help with weight loss. As people begin running, or increase their mileage, the strain of that additional exercise causes hunger.  Most people will then not only eat, but eat a little bit extra because after all, they worked out and feel they deserve it.  Countless times, I've allowed myself a Dairy Queen Blizzard or a Double Doozie Cookie because I ran all week and it was my reward.  The problem is that the ice cream and sugar filled cookies come with A LOT of calories.

Your Weight May Be the Same But You Are Probably Getting Thinner

If you are watching what you eat, making better choices, but the scale is not moving, there is another more likely possibility. This may sound like a strange thing to say, but even if the scale is not moving, you are likely getting thinner.  What do I mean by that? Well, you see, a pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  It's like the kid joke, what weighs more? A ton of feathers or a ton of bricks?  It's still a ton. But like feathers, fat takes up a lot more room where as muscle is like the bricks. Tight, compact bundles that don't take up nearly as much room.

Simple Math for Weight Loss

Weight loss is a rather simple formula: Calories in vs calories out.  Eat more than you use and you'll gain weight.  Burn more than you eat and you'll lose weight.  But here's the thing...I have a (not so) secret to tell you...

We burn calories just sitting on our butt watching TV, walking to the fridge and even sitting at a desk at work. You probably already knew that, but here's the secret: you can increase the amount of calories you burn at rest by having more muscle. Great! But what's that got to do with running?  I'm sure you've heard of HIIT training at the gyms. High Intensity Interval Training is a way to do short bursts of exercise followed by small rest breaks. This type of exercise is considered anaerobic.

Want to Lose Weight? Run Faster

When I was in the best shape of my life, I was doing speed work on the track twice per week.  I was getting in my cardio to build my endurance, but was also sprinting at the track twice a week and getting in my anaerobic conditioning. Without getting into all the science, let me just say that HIIT or Interval training is great for building lean muscle. Lean muscle is great at burning more calories while at rest. In fact, cardio helps you burn calories after running, but after HIIT training, your body will continue to a burn fat at a much higher rate for hours after you're done working out.

I recommend running intervals twice per week. You don't even need a track. Just run down the street, in a park or even on a treadmill.  At first, do short sprints. 50 meters perhaps or less depending on your fitness level  Walk back to the start and do it again.  Do 3-4 if you can. Take a couple minutes to get your breath and then start again with another 3 or 4 with the rest being your walk back. Do this 3 or 4 times for a total of 3 or 4 sets of 3-4 sprints each.

If you can, go longer.  Do 100 meter sprints, 200's, 400's. still with walk breaks. If this is too easy, jog the recovery to shorten the time before your next one.

If you'd like a running weight loss plan, please reach out to me.  I would love to help you on your weight loss journey.

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...