Turn Up The Heat!

Happy National Running Day!

I’ll be hitting the track today to celebrate. It’s not my normal track day, but I’m heading out of town after work tomorrow, so I decided to fit it in tonight so I could still meet up with a group rather than go it alone. I’m really enjoying the group track workouts with DC Running Coach. We all have our own workouts, but it’s still nice to feel like you’re in it together with the others.

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Last week was one of my first really hot track workouts of the summer. Temps were still close to 90 when we started warming up around 6:30 and the sun was beating down. I’ll be the first to admit that I love the heat and I even like the feeling of running in it a lot. I know… crazy. I will concede, however, that it does make me slower and last Thursday was definitely proof of that.

My workout for the week was 2X1 mile at 7:25 and 3X1000 meters at 4:38. With the heat my coach suggested aiming for a 7:30 mile instead. I showed my lack of pacing ability and did the first one in 7:22. This normally wouldn’t be very difficult for me, but I was breathing – in his words, “like I just finished a 5k.” Not ideal! He told me to shoot for 7:35 on the second one, which I did hitting 7:34, but it still felt tougher than a mile at that pace should.

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He told me to aim for about 5 seconds slower on the 1000s and really focus on my breathing. I did just that and stopped paying attention to the watch. It made a huge difference. My splits came in at 4:44, 4:42 and 4:41 and I felt a whole lot better than I did on that first mile. I still pushed myself, but I’m learning it’s all about adjustments to make sure you get the best you can out of a workout!

How do you adjust to running in the heat?

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Working With A Coach

I recently hired a running coach to help me reach my goal of qualifying for Boston this fall at the Marine Corps Marathon. I’d heard good things about DC Running Coach and in a strike of good timing just shortly after I gave up my gym membership at Washington Sports Club, a deal came on Zozi for a 3-month program with Mike of DC Running Coach.

I had an initial talk with Mike about my running background, my current training, upcoming races and my goals. Next up I went to a group track workout and after joining in for a few laps and the dynamic warm up, we worked on my running form. I’m still doing a good job of keeping the mid-foot strike I worked on with my physical therapist, but he identified a couple things – increasing stride length and a more compact arm swing – I can work on to get faster and run more efficiently.

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We had another talk about my goals and what I can realistically accomplish this year, and I’m now in my first week of the three month program he created for me. I’ve been creating my own programs for years and while I think I’ve done a pretty decent job, I have a tough time not second guessing on what the best training runs to include are. There is so much advice out there so it can be tough to know what’s best. It’s nice to have someone just give me a plan that’s tailored directly to me and to help get me where I want to be. There are also weekly group track workouts and I’ll turn in weekly recaps to help hold me accountable. I’m really excited to see how much I can improve working with a running coach and I’m happy to be back in a training program! Now it’s time to put in the work so I can get that BQ this fall!

Have you ever worked with a coach? Do you think it made you better?