Category Archives: coaching

celebrating with others

(yes I am alive!!  The blogging silence has been due to a 2 week road trip, just me and the kids, with no computer and I am 1 of the only people in America with NO smartphone, so internet access/time was limited. It was nice to feel “unplugged” for a while)

There are a lot of things I love about running, but a big one is the running community and celebrating with others.  It brings me such joy to celebrate another runner’s accomplishments!  I got to celebrate running joys with my sister while visiting her on my recent road trip.

A while back my sister asked me to help her with a plan to start running.  I’ve done this for several friends and I was so excited to give her tools to get started.  She started with run/walk intervals and has built up to long runs of 7 miles on the weekends.  I am so impressed and proud of her. She is truly a natural runner and runs effortlessly (which makes me wonder what she could do if she wanted to increase intensity!!)

Last Saturday, her amazing husband was happy to hold down the fort with their 3 kids plus my 3 kids while we headed out to run.  I made sure to not push the pace and just run side by side.  She kept saying we needed to slow down, but we never really did.  We finished 7 miles at an 8:45 pace. She was FLOORED – never did she imagine she could run that far at that pace! It was so fun being apart of it and being so excited with her! And it was my longest run since my injury!

Sunday, her amazing husband kept the kids again and we head out for what she says is a “short, easy run” – well that is 4.8 miles at 8:30 pace!

She’s a natural I’m telling you!

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Filed under coaching, life, running

eve of my 1st 5K in 23 months

The last 5K I ran was May 15, 2010.  I ran 19:33 (6:17/mile).  I’m honestly not sure what to expect tomorrow.  Ideally, I’d like to be faster than that. I know I’m strong, but I don’t feel fast.

The fun part of tomorrow is that 2 of my good friends are also running and it is there 1st road race EVER!  I’ve been helping them (and several other friends here) by making up running plans and helping them get into running shape.  It’s been fun to apply my coaching knowledge (and running in general knowledge) to help these good friends lead a more consistently active life style.

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Filed under coaching, goals, race, running

last race of the season

My team raced their last race of the season today.  We raced at Cedarville. It was hands down the nicest course I’ve ever seen, and the most well-run (details and organization wise) race I’ve ever been to – a coach’s dream!!!

We did every thing right leading up today.  We tapered by reducing volume rather than intensity.  Their legs felt fresh.  The girls ran great. But it just didn’t happen for the guys today.  You can ask a million questions on why …  and second guess decision I made leading up to today … yet sometimes the answers don’t come. It just didn’t happen.  That’s part of life and part of racing.  Yet it is so frustrating. Especially with 4 seniors.

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Covenant’s trainers looked at my ankle today – sprained in the exact same spot as late August (main ankle ligament) as well as a “slight upper ankle sprain.”  What does that mean I asked … basically, as I sprained it I was also tripping forward so it sprained my upper ankle as well.

She was very optimistic that I’ll still be able to race next Sunday.  I hope so.  I’ll take it day by day.  My 1st concern is getting around the race course in Ohio on Saturday as my team runs their last race of the season.

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Filed under coaching, injury


I had a great run Saturday (just over 11 miles at an 8 minute pace).  It made me so excited for the upcoming HALF thinking my goal really is attainable.  Monday I felt good on a tempo run. Tuesday I felt sluggish – what should have been an easy run felt HARD.  I took yesterday off to time the team on a sweet track workout in the rain (subnote – they ran GREAT – nailing their ambitious goal times I set for them!!!).  I thought I’d feel great today and planned to get in some miles.  I just wasn’t feeling it.  My legs felt heavy and I overall felt just plain sluggish and only ran 4 miles.

Several thoughts …

Looking at my running log, I’ve had 4 great weeks since 2 weeks off from my ankle sprain.  There’s a lot of wisdom in every few weeks, backing off a bit.  Maybe my body is telling me I need a lower mileage week.

I’ve also realized over the past few weeks how I need to pay careful attention to what I eat during the day. My tendency is to not eat enough during the day (unintentionally as I get busy with the girls, etc) and then be very hungry post-run and eat a huge dinner.  Not good!  I’ve been working to make sure I stop to eat a good breakfast (such as eggs and toast or homemade granola with added flaxmeal) and a substantial lunch.  That makes a big difference in how I feel during my afternoon runs.

I think the combo of those 2 things is why I’ve felt sluggish this week.  My brother talks about this on his blog as well – how some days you just don’t have it and that’s okay.  It’s part of running!  But I will say, I’d take his sluggish days ANY day!!! :)

I’m leaving tomorrow night for a quick overnight cross-country trip to Atlanta.  Thus, I won’t be able to run tomorrow unless I go early and Saturday’s running won’t add up to much as I dash around the race course.  So now, at 10:20pm I’m debating if I’ll wake up at 5am, pump (joys of nursing a baby), and run with some guys that always push me and make me laugh, or if I’ll sleep in.  I need the run.  Do I need the rest?  I think I’ll feel better if I run.  Hope I don’t regret it!

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Filed under coaching, eat/food, hard

tempo run

Today’s total was about 5 miles.  The middle 2.6 miles was a tempo run. I averaged around 7:40 pace for the tempo section.

Here’s the workout: I gave the team a set course to run – repeats on a 1.9 mile loop on our trails. Guys were to run 30 minutes, girls 20 minutes.  We did this same workout last Tuesday, and their goal today was to get further than last time (and most did!).   I struggled in the middle but finished strong.

Tempo workouts are so important if you are looking to add speed and strength to your running.  It not only trains your body to run faster for a sustained time, but it is also an excellent opportunity to train your mind to stay engaged and focused – which you have to do to push yourself to the “edge” (the place were you know you are working as hard as you can but not working so hard that you crash and burn before you finish).  African runners swear by tempo workouts and claim that it is these workouts that enable them to kick all white people’s tails.  Many of the top American runners are seeking to implement this strategy into their own running.  It seems like it is beginning to work.  The key is to run consistent for the entire time. To run consistent for a prolonged period, you feel like you are running harder as the workout progress because to maintain the same speed requires more effort the longer you go.  A key to doing this is keeping your mind engaged – if you tune out or think about how tired you are, you slow down.  Often this happens unconsciously.  I definitely struggled with that today – I tuned out and slowed down in the middle. I did redeem it a bit and finished strong.

And for the record, the past 2 days have made my legs S O R E.  I love it though :)  I was impressed with how many ankle handled the trails.  As long as I don’t bend my foot to the right in a certain way I’m fine!

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Filed under coaching, tempo

race day

I have always loved racing.  I love the nervous pit in my stomach before hand.  I still get it when I race now. There is so much less at stake when racing at this point than my races “back in the day.” Yet I want to do well.  I also believe that it is that feeling – the adrenaline – that helps you race beyond your means.  It is part of the mental side of running – the elusive, fascinating, infuriating other component to your physical ability.  This is the hardest thing to coach and change about a runner.  You can be in amazing shape, do all the right things leading up to and on race day, and it just may not come together that day.

My team had their 1st race today.  1 of my freshman has been practicing really well – much better than I expected.  Today, it just didn’t happen for her.  After the race I asked her how much was physical and how much was mental. She said “mostly mental.”  I agreed.   This is where I often joke with my team that I wish I could 2 little probes and alter their mental framework.

My answers to conquer the mental side are quite elementary.  1st off, I believe our bodies can do far more than we know.  Next, you can’t think about how hard it will hurt. It will hurt. There is no way around that. But you can’t think about it.  You have to want it and be willing to lay it out there.  Risk is involved.  Yet you risk in confidence.  The moment a negative thought creeps in your head of being tired, a train wreck can begin so fast that there is not stopping it. Thus you have to keep the negative thoughts out.  Simple, right?

I was planning on racing a 5K on Monday; yet the ankle changed that.  I did run a bit around the course today as my team raced today. My ankle is sore and weak, yet definitely on the mend. There is a 5K at the end of the month I may run. Then, there won’t be much opportunity until my half marathon on November 22.  I’m toying with a February or March marathon, but am still non committal.

For me, it’s important to have races picked out – to have goals.  I like having a purpose in my training more than just to be able to enjoy a big bowl of ice cream! :)

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