I Answered, Part 3

You guys have the best questions! 

Did you miss Part 1 and Part 2?  Check them out… here we go on Part 3!

As always, these are just my thoughts and opinions based on my experiences and observations.  Everyone is different and things apply differently to each person.

2011 SFM Training Plan

Tabitha asked:
I ran my third half marathon on Saturday and now I want to work on increasing my mileage so that I have a good base.  I think I peaked at 25 or so miles/week during training for the half and I’d like to get to 35-40 miles/week soon but safely.  One thing I was struggling with is how much I can run after my break from the race (I’m taking 4 days off from running) and I noticed that after your full week off from running after your marathons you went right back to 30 and then 42 miles the 2nd week!  I know about the 10% rule but that seems unreasonable.  I also wondered if you plan to/usually cut back on mileage every 3rd or 4th week during training as some recommend?

Excellent question!  I think this one can be a little hard to give a general answer on because really it just depends on a lot of things.  The distance you raced, how well you recover, how may miles you peaked at during training, etc.  There is a lot to take into consideration!

If I am getting back into training pretty quick (like I am right now) I typically try to do kind of a reverse taper.  In other words, I take what I did tapering for the race and go backwards.  My long runs don’t really work like this exactly since I take a little longer to get back up to 20, but my runs during the week and overall mileage can generally follow this to at least get back to where I was at a base.  Since my peak mileage was in the 60s and I was there for a number of weeks, the 30 to 42 increase didn’t affect me too much since my body is used to running more miles.  Once I get to closer to my base mileage, then the increases will be smaller, like this past week was 42 to 48.

I also don’t typically add back in speed work for a couple weeks.  Those first few weeks of running after a big race are a lot of easy miles and just getting back into it without anything super hard like tempos and intervals.

Once you are back to your base and increasing your weekly mileage to an unchartered area (higher than you have ran before), I believe the 10% rule is a great one to use to be conservative and safe.  When I took my RRCA course, they recommended 5% to be extra safe.  No need to get injured!

In response to the cutback weeks, I think those are definitely a good idea and can help mentally and physically during training plans.  I know some runners who swear by them and I think they have good reason.  It gives your body and mind a break from the big weeks of training, plus lets your body absorb and recover from some of the training you have been putting in.

This is what I have found works well for me over time, so it’s definitely something that is different for each person.  Like I always say listen to your body and make sure you aren’t doing too much too soon.

Karla asked
So now that you have your RCAA certificate (I think that was it) what are you going to do with it?

I want to coach runners!  I am working out some of the logistics of this right now, but I really want to be able to help coach other runners who need help, support, or just don’t want think about their own training plan so much.  I love training plans, I love answering questions and I love helping people to see their potential.  Hopefully this will all come together very soon!

May 312

Shannon asked:
I am looking at getting a foam roller or stick.. Is one better than the other? I don’t really want to get both right now so I am trying to figure out which would be more effective.

Personally if I had to pick ONE I would pick The Grid foam roller.  I do use the stick and it’s easier to transport, but I think the foam roller works better for what I use it the most for.  I took a quick poll on twitter the day I got this question and most people agreed with me too!

Simi asked:
How did you get so fast? What was your pace when you started running and what did you do for however long to get at this speed?

I definitely don’t consider myself a "fast" runner, but when I first started running I was running in the 9:00+ pace most of the time, with occasional runs sub 9’s.  When I got more into marathon training most of my long runs averaged sub 9’s.  My first 5k was an 8:20 avg pace, but a couple months later, my first half marathon was a 8:30 pace.

My normal training runs haven’t changed that much over time, but I have changed the way I train with slowing myself down sometimes, adding in tempo runs and intervals and just running more miles.  I really can notice differences in my track and tempo runs over time which I think is just hard work and actually doing them. 

My biggest improvement in the marathon came between my first and second one when I took 20 minutes off, but the course wasn’t as difficult and I trained a lot different for the second (more miles, specific paces) rather than just running like I did for my first one.

2011 Boston Marathon 052

Jennifer asked:
I agree that running and training is a very individual thing, but I have no idea how to tackle the nutrition component on a long run? My long runs at the moment are not very long, but any tips for future runs?

Practice!  Some people’s bodies don’t respond well to certain types of fuel so it’s really important to practice.

I break my fueling up into 3 areas: hydration, electrolytes and carbs/calories.

For hydration I have found that plain water works best for me to keep my stomach happy during runs, but I used to use watered down Gatorade for the extra calories and electrolytes.  When I took away the Gatorade, I knew I needed to add some more electrolytes into my fueling plan, so I added salt capsules.  I typically don’t use them on every long run, but once it gets warm and more electrolytes are more necessary I definitely use them.  One habit I get into is to drink some water at every mile.  When I hear my garmin beep, I take a sip of water and just try to stay hydrated from the get go.  Once you get thirsty it’s too late!

For carbs/calories I use GU gels (which also has some electrolytes but not as many as shot blocks or chomps).  On long runs I typically take them every 4-5 miles depending on the day.  I also believe in putting the fuel in before you really need it, so fuel early and often and you will feel better later on down the road.

This is what I have found works best for me over lots of time and practice and it’s still changing!  This is a big area where people differ, so making sure to figure out what your body can handle is a big task when in training.

Do you have anything to add? 

As always chime in with your thoughts and experiences!  The more info and experiences, the better.  Stick vs. foam roller, how do you fuel, do you use cutback weeks in training? Inquiring minds want to know!

Any other questions?

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13 Responses to I Answered, Part 3

  1. marlene May 31, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    GREAT answers! As you know, we share a lot of the same philosophies so I definitely agree with the advice here!

    For Tabitha with respect to building the mileage back up after a race, I think the biggest factor is what kind of mileage base you have going into it. If you’re someone who has run X number of miles quite comfortably for a year or more, your body will probably be okay with getting back to that mileage pretty quickly. However, if you are relatively new to higher mileage, you may want to build back up more conservatively since it could still be a bit of a push.

  2. stephanie May 31, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    Thanks for all the advice/info! I love reading all your tips and FAQs..one question, what type of salt capsules do you use? I will be doing some longer runs this summer and with the heat/humidity we have here in South Louisiana, I think I will need the extra electrolytes.

    • Aron June 1, 2011 at 9:44 am #

      I got a couple questions about the salt caps so I will definitely do a post on that soon! :)

  3. Nelly May 31, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Great answers! I felt like I was literally nodding my head in agreement the entire post!

    I like to hydrate during runs using a fuel belt with 1 bottle of cytomax, and 1 bottle of plain water. I find that having 2 bottles of cytomax is almost too much concentrated mixture. Then I just refill them at water stops if they run out.

    I like to use endurolyte salt tablets, I try to take one every 4 miles or so.

    Definitely a believer in the GRID foam roller, you can dig into your muscles better this way.

    And I echo Aron’s sentiment of listening to your body – if your body is telling you to take it easy, then take it easy. I didn’t heed these warnings back in March, and now I’m injured due to overuse. Now I know what warning signs to watch for (sore or achy knees or other body parts, feeling tired on runs, etc)

  4. Holly @ Pink Runner May 31, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    I LOVE my foam roller, but never tried the stick. I think it would be nice to take with you instead of carrying around a big orange foam roller to your hotel the day before a race…

  5. stoppingfordaisies May 31, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    So if you’re looking for a runner to coach, I’d love some advice! I’m still new to running and trying to figure out what to do over this summer now that I’m done with c25k and quit b10k (walking breaks weren’t working for me anymore). :)

  6. Kristin May 31, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    In my experience, the stick is much better for the calves, while the foam roller does a better job for issues with the hamstrings, glutes, and IT bands. So it really depends what you’re using it for, but I do like having both.

  7. Michelle May 31, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    I take Gu every 5 miles and it has save me during some longer runs.
    When I get out to Cali, I may have to hire you to help me become a better runner and as fast as you!

  8. Jesse May 31, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    i am lovin’ these q&a’s posts!

    i’d love some more info on salt tabs {why to use them, where to get them, etc} as my husband thinks he needs to start using them. he sweats A LOT when running or doing any kind of working out and looses a lot of fluids. info & tips would be greatly appreciated :)

  9. Demi May 31, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    Yeah, those ARE good questions! I started with the stick, but added the roller recently and use both of them.

  10. Jill Z. June 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    Thanks for your great answers! So, perhaps I should just wait for you to start coaching to ask this, but figure I’ll ask anyways :) I’m planning to race a half-marathon in late October and am having trouble coming up with a training plan and also figuring out what I should be doing now to build a base.

    I’ve only run one half before (a few months ago) and finished in 1:47, but have since upped my mileage and speed and know I’m in much better shape. (Randomly entered a 5k last week and finished in 20:50 – haven’t raced a 5k since high school!) I’d like to finish in under 1:40, and have dreams of sub 1:35. I know I need to add speed work and tempo runs once the race gets closer, but should I be doing any of that now? I usually run 30-40 mpw with one long run of 10+ and at least one run at a slightly faster pace.

    Thanks so much!

  11. Kamaile June 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

    Wish I live in San Francisco (or you lived in Dallas, TX), I would love to have you as a coach. I’m also interested in more info on salt tabs. Thanks Aron!

  12. KarlaR June 2, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

    Thanks for Answering my question! I wish I lived in San Fran and not seattle to have you as a coach! how fun! Thanks for all the information! I have a regular foam roller but might save up for the grid one!

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