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Stretching Techniques

Before or after (or during?) your run, how do you limber up and stay loose when you're putting in the miles?
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Tips + Tricks

What's the secret to successful training? How do you keep from hitting the wall? What do you do when all else fails?
Latest Topic - Winter Running Hacks?
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An area for coaches to connect and talk about their different experiences and techniques for being a great coach
Latest Topic - Track Team Reports

Training Blog

How do you do it? When do you do it? How do you know when you're ready? This is your place for stories about training life.
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Track Team Reports
  I know it's a bit early, but how do your track teams look? What kind of season are you expecting?
drnew Contributor replied
After 9 inches last week our track is cleared.  Nearly 50 degrees outside.  Hope that it clears soo... more
Winter Running Hacks?
This one is always necessary...   How do you sustain quality training during a snowy, cold winter?   (If you are from southern Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, or SoCal, ignore this one... maybe throw on shorts and a light T and go for a sunny-side-up jog... the rest of us have real work to do!)   Here are my recent attempts: Ice spikes : Decent product, given that all it really is is screws that you drive into your shoes... but they do work... on certain surfaces. Not a dynamic solution. Dirt roads with ice and packed snow. Stuff like that. I hate over-shoe solutions (Yakyaks, or whatev... bad experiences with everything under the sun - ok for an especially slow jaunt... but not for quality winter training) Trail Shoes : This is my most recent (you would think I would have tried it sooner) solution! I have mostly paved roads and bike paths around my house, and while they get plowed, these ain't no city streets. They are always snow-covered, for the most part. Trail shoes do it just right. Traction on the lightly dusted but slippery packed-snow surfaces. And they tend to resist water a bit better than traditional training shoes. Gym Membership : not a fan. But it is necessary - must find a gym with a relatively functional track. None of those 27-laps to a mile tracks... those are deadly. My most important indicator of an acceptable track is the cornering. If you can take a corner at decent speeds without playing pinball with the inadequately padded steel pillars, then it works. Here's why: treadmills and snowy roads have two things in common. (1) They are not representative of actual running surfaces the rest of the year (when you have consistent traction and the road doesn't move for you), and (2) they force compensations in subtle ways that often amount to overusing and underusing various muscle groups that you worked so hard to condition properly for the rest of the year. Thus, I try to get on an indoor track at least once/week (if possible), even if it is for an easy run. Just don't run 2 hours on a tiny track going the same direction. Something will break. GET THE RIGHT GEAR! This one distresses me... I see people running in shorts all the time, and folks, I live in WEST MICHIGAN. This morning, it was 13 degrees when I left my house. Not only the shorts, though, they wear the cotton hoodies, the 180 degree ear muff things... all sorts of fashion-forward athletic-ware. I'm not about that life. I go for multiple levels of running tights (from indoor-thin to double layered fleece), long socks that are NOT 100% cotton (ugh), base-layer type shirts that are form-fitted, light half-zips for insulation, wind and water-resistant shell jackets with multiple layers, and multiple sizes of hats and gloves and balaclavas in order to be able to layer them when needed. When I finish an hour run, I like to feel like I just jogged through a sauna. It might take me 3 days to replenish my fluids, but the most important thing is that when I open my door, the cold doesn't discourage me at all. Perhaps you belong to the school of thought that says winter is a time to chillax and keep it breezy. (If so... you probably come by it genetically, given that humanity has shared that opinion for... nearly the entirety of history.) I am inclined to agree... for a bit. But folks, after a month of keeping the key low and the back laid, I'm ready to start the climb again. Why? Because I want to actually enjoy racing in the spring, and for me, at least, that means a strong base of quality running to build up some race-ready fitness.    And if you made it this far in the post...  share your own Winter Running Hacks!
marpr227 Founding Runner replied
We all have our limits, both physical and common sense. I once coached a distance runner here (Texa... more
Kicking athlete off team
A few years ago, I had to kick an athlete off the cross-country team. I hated to do it, because he was either our number 2 or 3 runner, and I really liked this guy. But he became such a distraction to the team, he left me with no choice. He dropped out of school (this was college) and joined the army. It changed his life. About 10 years later, he sent me an e-mail telling me how much he loved the army and now he understood why I did what I did. It was truly a gratifying moment in my coaching life.    Have you ever kicked an athlete off your team? Looking back, was it the right move? What were the long-term results? (if you know).
marpr227 Founding Runner replied
Great story, drnew.  more
I need help with my running stamina and form
I'm 25 years old and my running is horrible. I use to run at least three times a week and I swam the other two. I took a little time because I trained for three years straight. But even when I was training my running was always the worst. I don't know what it is but I get out of breath way too fast. And when I get out of breath my form goes out the window. I was wondering if y'all could give me some tips, workouts, anything really to help me. Thank y'all so much in advance
marpr227 Founding Runner replied
It's hard to say without seeing your workouts, but most novice runners don't do enough distance, an... more
I'm not real big on stretching
Years ago, I read (I think it was Tom Osler but don't quote me) who said he didn't stretch, because the only time he got injured was when he stretched--he prefaced it by saying he was about to commit heresy.   I've met several people whose opinions on running I really respect, told me the same thing.   In lieu of that, I have my athletes (and myself) go through sprint drills and bounding exercises, even utilizing a medicine ball, believing here you get the best of both worlds. Increase the range of motion and build strength without stressing the muscles in ways that have no practicaclity with regards to the actual running process.   Anyone else share this philosophy?
RichardB Valued Contributor replied
Hello @marpr227, @Emmarunner, @BC, @EricLuedeman and the Run Community. My first mile of every run ... more
heavy legs
What do other coaches do for a runner who says their legs feel heavy during a race? Has anyone encountered this with their runners? Suggestions.
marpr227 Founding Runner replied
Could not agree more. If an athlete has heavy legs, usually one or two days of rest will take care ... more
Motivation for less than stellar HS XC team
For the first team in years we have a team that just doesnt work hard. They do the workouts but at a snails pace. We even had them race us, two old men way past prime, and we beat them. They are a good group, fun, respectful but no drive. Any ideas? 
marpr227 Founding Runner replied
I know this is a bit late, but we'd love to know how the season worked out for you.   When I coac... more
Help me improve my 5K time!
I am a girl, and junior in high school in cross country. I am 5' 10" and 136 lb. My fastest time this season was 22:39 (I improved at each meet)  and I want to be the best in the district and maybe even region next year. The fastest time in our district this year was 20:02. I only trained for half of this summer and it was my first year running cross country. Next fall, I want to come back better than ever! I need a solid and efficient training plan for Nov-Aug. Please give me feedback.
EricLuedeman Frequent Contributor replied
This is a basic guideline advice I use with my runners that I coach.  I would suggest for you to bu... more
plantar fasciitis
As Brooks ID coach , always looking for any new stretches for my runners to help reduce the possibility of plantar fasciitis. Any ideas out there?
EricLuedeman Frequent Contributor replied
Stretching is very important but I have found out, as a coach and a runner, strengthening the foot ... more
Good Luck High School Coaches!
Wishing the best to all of you in your various states who are wrapping up your seasons! Good luck and COACH AND RUN HAPPY!!!
ccalfee Valued Contributor replied
Thank you very much.  I took over a cross country program this year, and we reached goal #1 yesterd... more
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