running.COACH: Dynamic Updates

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Our online training plan is now even more individual and dynamic: Here, we present you the most recent updates in running.COACH at one glance.

Rehab plan

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The running.COACH training plan is now even more individual. If you are unable to conduct a session due to injury or illness and you have to cancel it, running.COACH now registers that. You are then presented a rehab plan, which considers the break from training. By the way, the plan also registers lows in motivation and mental/physical state. It is a necessary precondition, however, that you log your trainings correctly. Nevertheless, running.COACH does not change anything without your confirmation.

Automatic heart rate adjustments

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The running.COACH analyses your trainings as well as your heart rate zones in training. Does your heart rate not coincide with the values you entered in the settings at the very beginning, the program suggests an adjusted heart rate setting. However, nothing will be changed without your approval.

Dynamic adjustment intervals and middle pace

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In order to plan your training, the running.COACH considers your performances in your trainings. It analyses your trainig data from the key sessions (intervals and middle pace sessions). If you constantly run a bit faster than recommended over a longer period of time or if you always run a bit slower than the suggested pace, the program proposes the according adjustments. This ensures that you always train at the optimal pace for you. However, no changes will be made without your approval.

Are you not yet using the running.COACH? Try it out and register! If you enter the code RCFREE16 when entering, you can test running.COACH for free for 30 days.

 

Meet our Gold Coach Ueli Bieler

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This Interview is with our Gold-Coach Ueli Bieler, runner and triathlete. Read about his running background and get his advise.

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What reputation and importance does running have in the country that you live in? 

In an international comparison, Switzerland is a country with many runners. About 20% of the Swiss population runs regularly. Furthermore, ever more of those people run a considerable amount (several times a week).

Tell us your personal running story.

Until the age of 20, I mainly played football and other ball sports. However, we only ran a maximum of 5km per training session. My good endurance rather stemmed from long hikes. I have always been to the mountains a lot and I have always enjoyed it. I only took up running when I moved to Zurich for my studies at the age of 21. I did my first running trainings with the ASVZ (Academic Sports Association Zurich). Two years later I already completed my first long distance triathlon (Ironman Switzerland 2003).

What has been your favourite running experience so far?

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My best running memory so far is from the Berlin marathon 2015. I had already run 9 marathons before. However, I ran most of those previous marathons at the end of the triathlon season, without serious preparation, whereas at the Berlin marathon 2015 I had the clear goal to achieve a new personal best. I specifically prepared for it together with 9 other runners on my squad (TV Oerlikon) for about 8 weeks. All of us were successful. I achieved a new personal best with 2:34,12 and Christian Kreienbühl even managed to qualify for the Olympics in Rio with his time.

What is your next goal? How do you prepare for that? 

After the Powerman Zofingen is my next goal the Ironman Hawaii. I am thus taking part in two official World Championships in long distance within 5 weeks. In addition to that, the Ironman Switzerland took place 6 weeks before the Powerman Zofingen. I am testing something new this year, trying to keep myself in competition mode for 11 weeks in a row. I have planned a competition every fortnight. A lot of recovery and only a couple of shorter, tough training sessions are planned for in between.

What is your favourite type of training?

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Ueli at Glacier 3000 Run in Switzerland

My favourite kinds of training are long mountain runs – I sometimes do them as training competitions. I really enjoy being in the mountains and I like technically challenging terrain.

Which is your personal piece of training advice that you can share with us? 

Something which is being neglected by a lot of runners: breathing. You should breathe deep down into your belly when running. It should feel as if you were filling your whole belly with air. You can practice this anytime and anywhere. Training my breathing has helped me a lot to improve in running: I am now able to run more relaxed even in competitions and at a high intensity.

Do you have any ritual which you do before a competition? 

I like warming up a little longer than others, although I keep it very easy. Before a half marathon I would usually warm up about 20 minutes at 6min/km, followed by a couple of quick accelerations.

Which is your personal piece of competition advice that you can share with us? 

This is very individual! Each runner needs a different piece of advice for a competition. However, a good pacing makes sense for everyone. Especially beginners tend to start off too fast. One should think about what distance one will be able to keep for the whole race and one should keep the pace as steady as possible right from the beginning.

Do you mind your nutrition?

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Ueli’s Kitchen!

I know a lot about sports nutrition and I have been following what’s happening in the field of nutrition science for many years. Nutrition is important for athletes, but you don’t need to complicate things. If you stick to the most important rules, you can achieve a lot without too big an effort. My diet is varied and healthy, but I keep it simple. I don’t take any supplements.

What is your favourite running brand? 

I don’t have any favourite brand. Running shoes are most important however. I use about 10 different pairs of shoes from 10 different brands – depending on the situation and the type of training.

What was a special moment for you as a running coach/ Gold coach? 

I am always very happy when one of the athletes I am coaching works for a specific goal… and then achieves it.

Why should a customer book you as a Gold coach?

Because of my experience. Especially on longer distances. I have been working for running.COACH for 10 years now and I have organised more than 1500 running trainings, as well as a lot of training camps. Furthermore, the 10 marathons and the 20 long distance competitions (duathlon/triathlon) that I’ve taken part in, have left me with a lot of competition experience.

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Locating Satellites: Your Pre-Run Warm-up

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Training with technology is great, a GPS watch used in collaboration with your running.COACH program provides an automatic running log, customization of your training schedule based on what you are actually doing, adjustment of your goals, and your Coach knows exactly what you are up to.

Add-in heart rate, altimeter, cadence sensor, and all the other wearable technologies available and you have quite the analysis of each workout.  But let’s think about how much time we all spend waiting for our watch to lock-on to GPS signal. On average 30 seconds to two minutes is normal even for the best of watches, that’s about two to nine hours every year of just standing around! Even if you don’t wear a watch you’re likely even more infuriated waiting for your running partner to “lock on”.

Rather than assuming the posture of waiting for your watch (we’re all good at making sure others know were not just standing in the middle of the street for nothing) this is an opportunity for an extra 2-9 hours of training for the year. Some of you may already stretch during this time, static stretching a cold muscle has actually been shown to do more damage than good- so here is a better use of your time and will actually help prevent injuries:

The Dynamic GPS Warm-up

Complete five repetition per leg of each exercise below, the goal is to warm-up and activate the muscle, not to fatigue it.

Squats

Feet shoulder width apart, toes pointing forward, drop hips down to no lower than knee height, eyes should be looking up to assist with keeping a flat back, come back up straight pushing pelvis forward.

Lunges

Take a large step forward, bring your foot as high as your knee, ensure alternating arm motion (just like when you run), step back also with your foot coming as high as the other knee. Note: if you have trouble stepping back you are like stepping too far out, shorten the length of the lunge. After forward lunges, do the same but stepping to the side.

Leg Extensions

Standing with a form of support (wall, car, pole, person, etc.) slowly extend a straight leg forward, out to the side, 45 degrees behind you, and straight back returning your leg to center between each one.

Add-in bonus: alternate your foot/ankle position pointing the toes in, out, up, and down during the extensions.

Leg Swings and Rotation

Not just for the elite track athlete! Still standing next to a form of support, swing one leg back-and-forth while turned 90 degrees to the fall, one hand supported against the wall and the other swinging with your leg. Next, while facing the wall with both hands against the support, swing one leg side-to-side in front of you. Finally, from same position do forward and backward knee circles similar to a hurdler.

Bonus Calf Hops

Still waiting? Hop up and down on light feet, move them out and to the side, toes alternate pointing in and out, dance like a boxer.

There, both you and your watch should be ready to go now. Be sure to link your watch account to RUNNING.COACH account.

Neff_KatyHalf16_WR_BillBaumeyerThis blog post was written by Calum Neff, canadian born running.COACH gold coach in the U.S., 2:22h marathoner and Guinness world record holder for the fastest half marathon pushing a stroller in 1:11:27. Are you interested in a personal running coach? Click here.

Meet our Gold Coach Lina Strand

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Our Gold Coach Lina Strand from Sweden just won a bronze medal at the World Orienteering Championships in the sprint relay: huge congratulations. Meet Lina in our interview and get some personal running advise from her. Until the 10th September 2016 you still can profit and we will give you 10% off the gold subscription. You buy it now and start the coaching sessions whenever you want. Find the code and more details below.

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Lina’s explanations below the interview*

 

What reputation and importance does running have in the country that you live in? 

Running is at the moment big here in Sweden. All the running competitions are growing and running has become a big part of peoples try to live a healthy life. Though this is mostly among adults and I wish that younger teens also would embrace this “boom” of running which is going on at the moment.

Tell us your personal running story.

Running has been a part of my entire life and many of my early memories are myself running! My sport has always been orienteering, where running is a big part. The only difference is the surface – we run mostly in forest on uneven ground instead of the flat run on asphalt. But, I’ve been doing that as well and already as a young child we were playing “olympics” and then it was mostly the running events we practiced, from 60m up to 2k, which felt quite long for 8-10 year olds. I have also always preferred running before walking, especially when going home from friends during late nights. I was afraid of the dark and felt always more comfortable running home than walking.

It was my parents who introduced me for the running sports and at the moment I am among top 10 of the world’s best orienteers. This means that I have been training a lot of running as we compete between 15 to 90 minutes of running (orienteering). The last couple of years I have not participated in so many running competitions as the orienteering season contains of so much competitions. Though I this year beat my personal record on the, in Gothenburg (which is my home town), well-known “grus8an”, one round on a gravel track of almost 8 km to 28.16. Though this time still have some potential for improvement.

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Lina icebug runnig Photo: Icebug

 

What has been your favourite running experience so far?

My best running experience is for sure the world championships in orienteering on home ground this August 2016. I ran the first leg of the sprint relay in Strömstad town and did a solid race and reached the finish first of all. There were thousands of people (mostly Swedish) there cheering and it was magical! My team, Sweden, ended up as 3rd and we got a long-awaited bronze medal.

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sprint relay finish Photo: Mattias Karlsson

 

What is your next goal? How do you prepare for that? 

My next goal is next year’s world championships in orienteering in Estonia and on my way towards that and hopefully more medals I need to improve my running skill. I especially need to be faster, so I will try to work on that.

What is your favourite type of training? 

I love to do 8 times 1k on this gravel track (grus-8an) here in Gothenburg. I also like training in stairs, which I quite recent started with. I believe this is a very good and quite easy way to improve explosive skills which is important to become a better and faster runner.

Which is your personal piece of training advice that you can share with us? 

Have patience! Develop running skills takes time. First your improvement can go quite fast, for example to lower your 5k time from 30-35 minutes to 20-25, but then the hard work starts and you need patience. Of course it matters of what your goals is and also how your background looks like, but the hardest part is always to continue and stick with training to get the real improvement later on which may take some years. My advice is to have the courage to plan in long-term, to dream, and then make a plan towards it. Which are the boundaries between my current position and the position I dream on? What can I do to get there and what kind of help do I need?

Do you have any ritual which you do before a competition? 

Yes, I have my warm-up ritual which mostly contains of 15 min easy running and some stretching. Then I always do 2 min-interval in competition speed to wake up the body. I then to some shorter speed-ups and then I feel fully prepared. I believe it is important to find a warm-up ritual that you trust and that makes your body well-prepared. This can change between persons why it is good to try some different so you know which is best for you. Before important competitions it is easy to tart think too much of what may be the best to do and then do too much stuff which makes you tired and unsure before the race. That is why rituals can be important to stick feeling fully confident.

Do you mind your nutrition?

Nutrition is important, but the most important thing for me training mostly 12 times a week is to get enough. Training with lack of energy is nothing I ever would recommend. But of course it is also important what I eat which help me avoid illness. I try to always eat a lot of green salad (ruccola/spinach for example) to my lunch and dinner meals (together with protein and carbs sources).

What is your favourite running brand? 

2XU is my favourite running clothes. The long tights and the shorts gives me a perfect running feeling. Compression tights helps your muscles stay in the right place to avoid the small vibrations when you hit the ground in each step. I am feeling fast! Shoes I prefer the local brand Icebug when I run in the forest as they have the perfect grip on wet and uneven surfaces!

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2xu and icebug brand Photo: Jonas Birgersson

 

What was a special moment for you as a running coach/ Gold coach? 

I am quite new as a gold coach here at running coach but I have memories from other coaching commissions. My best memories is always to see my adepts fulfilling their goals and perhaps also reaching beyond them after long and hard work. That is always great moments!

Why should a customer book you as a Gold coach?

I am eager to help people reach their goals as I know exactly how great the feeling is when you do it. I have a lot of own experiences, but also an on-going education which gives me broad knowledge. My strength is to see things from a lot of different perspectives which may help to find the right way for my customer even if he or she feels like their development has stopped. I also know that training can be complex with all the things you read in media, some is scientific, but most is not. It is very hard to know, just by reading on internet or magazines what’s good for you and that is why it can be nice to have a gold coach to discuss all this things with.

Would you like to book Lina Strand as your Gold Coach? You get 10% off till 10th September 2016. It doesn’t matter which Coach your book. Just use the code: GETGOLD10

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*Lina’s WARM-UP Explanations

Coffee or tea? – Tea. I’ve never learnt to like the taste of coffea, but the beans smells good!

Summer or winter?- Summer. I like training camps in nice wheather and especially when you can finish it with a swim in the ocean.

Running training in the morning or in the evening? I do most of my fast trainings during the evening, but I am also used going up training in the morning as I mostly do 2 trainings a day. But if I have to choose, I say evening.

Running training alone or in a group? Group! Both hard intervals where I get pacing from others, but also the easy long runs when you can chat and run for hours!

Running in the terrain or on asphalt? As an orienteer I must say the terrain. Its benefits a lot, both to avoid injuries as it is more careful, but also that it helps strengthen some of your small stabilizing muscles in your legs.

Running with or without a GPS watch? With! I love analyzing my heart rate and speed after a well executed session.

Running statistics: yes or no? Yes of course! I believe that it helps you improve your running skills. Though statistics is not everything and I also believe that you need the sense of your own feeling as well.

Pre-competition meal: pasta or rice? Doesn’t matter – it depends on the sauce you add. 😉 No pasta or rice without sauce!

Competition nutrition: gel or bar? Gel! It is very easy to “eat” during hard running.

Alternative training: swimming or biking/cycling? Biking, as I am not a swimmer and I like to explore areas which you do much better by bike. I also like alternative training methods as wetvest running, crosstrainer and roller skies.

Running during pregnancy

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How can you run safe throughout your pregnancy?

That Monday morning in January 2015, I just wanted to go for my usual run. However, my positive pregnancy test in mind, I wondered: “am I even supposed to run anymore?” This thought turned that “usual run” into a special one and one which I still remember. At the start, I ran as if I was jogging on eggshells. It somehow felt strange and unusual, even if it was probably mostly in my head rather than my body. I soon got rid of that feeling and lots of runs were to follow. I am hereby broaching the issue of running training during pregnancy and I am going to try and give advice about how still to run with your belly growing bigger.

Many expectant mothers have been very active before pregnancy and they want to remain active even during and after. Exercise and pregnancy are not mutually exclusive. However, hardly anyone is as easy to unsettle as a pregnant woman. This should not have to be like that! Recently, several positive effects of exercise on both the mother and the baby have been demonstrated: a positive influence on the mood of the expectant mother, decreasing risk of gestational diabetes, avoidance of excessive weight gain, less physical complaints and higher physical and psychological resilience of the mother.

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During my pregnancy, the following points have been my guidance:

  1. Every pregnancy is different. Therefore, you should always talk about your plans with a medical expert in advance.
  2. No experiments in your training during pregnancy: expectant mothers should only train the way they have been doing before pregnancy. If you haven’t been running before your pregnancy, you should not start with that as long as you are expecting. What you could do in that case is to start with Aquajogging, Nordic Walking or to use a cross trainer.
  3. Listen to your body! Our body is able to give us rather reliable signals for what works and what does not. Active people usually have particularly good body awareness. Listen to the signals from your body (heart rate, temperature, well-being, etc.) and act accordingly. In case of bleedings or contractions of the uterus, stop the current sporting activity immediately!

Running training during pregnancy

Experienced runners may continue with their training as before, provided they consider the following points.

Intensity

High intense training in the anaerobic zone is not recommended, as this firstly prevents the baby from getting enough oxygen, and secondly, the concussions on your body might be too heavy.

Amount of training

As long as your running feeling and recovery are good, there is no reason for you to reduce the amount of training hours from before pregnancy. However, pregnancy itself is already a physical stress for your body and can be compared to light endurance training. Generally, I have reduced my training load a little and in the beginning of my pregnancy I did not have the energy to do long runs. I did not start doing them later either, because with my weight increasing, running was becoming more exhausting than swimming or cycling.

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Running in the first trimester

In the first trimester it is all about gaining trust and feeling what is still possible. If everything else feels good, you can continue with your usual running training, as long as you adjust the intensity. I was tired a lot and I often had troubles getting myself to put on my shoes and to go out running. But still, after training I always felt better.

Running in the second trimester

In the second trimester many women are very vivid and this should be taken advantage of. Towards the end of the second trimester, running training has to potentially be reduced due to the growing belly. Shorter runs or single trainings should then be replaced with Nordic Walking, Aquajogging or a cross trainer. As opposed to the other two sports I usually do (swimming and cycling), I could really feel my increased weight when running. I reduced the length of my base runs to 40-45 minutes towards the end of the second trimester.

Running in the third trimester

The baby belly is growing and now, at the latest, people start staring at you when they see you running past: a woman, pregnant, running?! It is still possible to run even in the third trimester, as long as it feels comfortable. Some are able to run right until the end of their pregnancy. I was still running for about 40 minutes two to three times a week by the 35th week of pregnancy. I especially focused on a smooth running style, so that the extra weight would not lead to incorrect loading or other injuries. In addition to that, I did a running training in the water (Aquajogging), which was a bit longer than my ordinary running sessions.

Quitting running

One day, the moment might come when you realise that it doesn’t work anymore. This can be in the first, second or even third semester and it is really individual. Sometimes it might help to alternate running and walking or you might just try another day. I stopped my running training when I started to repeatedly feel my lower belly going hard when running. I changed to the cross trainer, which, in addition to Aquajogging, turned out to be a good alternative.

Strength training is a must!

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Strength training in relation with running training gets ever more important in the course of a pregnancy. The additional weight is extra demanding for your body and the stress on the pelvic floor is enormous. Further, the hormone relaxin loosens tendons and ligaments and it can lead to instability.

My ten pieces of personal running advise for expecting mothers

  • Trust your body feeling, but use a heart rate belt at times after all.
  • Do only take part in competitions if you are able to control yourself and run according to heart rate. This is why competitions were a taboo for me.
  • Generally, and especially with an ongoing pregnancy, running works better in the morning than in the evening. The bladder is empty and not yet strained from everyday life.
  • Allow for possible toiled breaks in your sessions. The concussions emerging when running often made me feel like I had to pee.
  • I hardly felt my baby moving while jogging. She probably used to fall asleep then, she was always very active after. .
  • Be careful with your gear: Your sports bra should fit well (your breasts might change during pregnancy) and your running shoes should not be worn out already.
  • I don’t have any experience in this myself, but others have told me that it helps to wear an abdominal belt and that this makes running more comfortable.
  • Don’t run on an empty stomach and bring a small snack – almonds did the job for me.
  • Drink enough after training and, if necessary, already during training.
  • Healthy and balanced nutrition is important during pregnancy in general and for active women especially

I wish you all many nice running moments, even when pregnant. Keep on moving…

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Our Gold Coach Stefanie Meyer is a passionate runner and Ironwoman. She lives her passion for sports through her profession as a sports scientist, sports teacher and running coach. She left Switzerland in summer 2014 and has been living in London since then. Being a mum herself, Stefanie runs a blog www.sportymum.net about sports during and after pregnancy. Since the birth of her daughter she has been regularly taking part in competitions again.

Meet our Gold Coach Pat Nispel

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Meet our eight running.COACH Gold Coaches in our interview serie. This first interview is with Pat Nispel. Until the 10th September 2016 you can profit and we will give you 10% off the gold subscription. Find the code and more details below.

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What reputation and importance does running have in the country that you live in? 

Australia has a long lasting tradition in exceptional distance runners and coaches. This is currently shown again by the many top results by Australian athletes at the Olympics. Running and triathlon as well as sport in general are part of our lifestyle here with huge participation numbers.

Tell us your personal running story.

I started with gymnastic and skiing form a very young age while growing up in Switzerland. However, from age 12, running has been my favourite sport and I started out with cross country and athletics; winning my first gold medal at the Junior Cross Country Swiss Championships when I was 17 and going on to represent Switzerland at the European Championships when I was 18.

Following a long track career racing across Europe, I moved to Brisbane, Australia in 2007 to work as an architect and train with the legendary coach Pat Clohessy at the University of Queensland Athletics Club. In 2008, I had my most prestige track race win in Melbourne with the Zatopek 3000m Steeplechase in a time of 8:59. At the same time, I started coaching runners and triathletes.

I decided to make the transition from track to marathon in 2011, with a debut time of 2:23 at the Gold Coast Marathon, placing 10th overall. That year was a good one for me; I also won the Australian and Queensland Mountain Running Championships and received my Australian citizenship. I am now very proud to be a dual Swiss-Australian citizen. In February 2012, I finished 3rd in the Osaka Marathon in Japan. In 2013, I placed 3rd in the Swiss Championships at the Zurich Marathon in a time of 2:22 which landed me a spot in the Swiss National team for the 2014 European Athletics Championships. My most favourite distance now is the half-marathon with many wins to my name and in 2016 I improved my half-marathon PB to 1:07:07 and won the City2South 14k event in Brisbane.

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What has been your favourite running experience so far?

There are many fond memories I have from my 20 year long running career both in and out of competition. My most honourable track results is wining the famous Zatopek Meet 3000m Steeplechase in Melbourne in 2008. I went out hard leading the race from start to finish to win in a personal best time of 8:59. It was also my last season as a track runner. On the road, I am still hoping for my best to come, but my 3rd place at the Senshu International City Marathon in Osaka, Japan in 2012 was definitely a highlight.

What is your next goal? How do you prepare for that? 

I am currently having a break from competition and enjoy time with my family and 6 months old son while focusing on my growing coaching business. I am looking to return to some races towards the end of this year and some bigger goals from next year again.

What is your favourite type of training? 

I love a challenging long run on trails or marathon simulation run when I am in top shape. However, otherwise my favourite and most practiced speed session is the Mona Fartlek named after Steve Monegetthi. 

 

Which is your personal piece of training advice that you can share with us? 

“Train smarter, not harder” – a personal coach that brings both years of experience in the sport as well as the knowledge of the latest exercise and sport science will be able to guide each individual person/ athlete to achieve their personal goals. There are no short-cuts when it comes to performance in endurance sports so the right mix of different training methods and recovery are just one critical factor amongst many other factors to consider.

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Do you have any ritual which you do before a competition? 

There are lots of rituals before a race I go through, too many to mention here. My warm up routine is definitely an important ritual, so is the 4am wake up alarm before a morning race start.

Do you mind your nutrition?

My nutrition has become more important each year and I believe it is equally important to my training and recovery. Luckily I work with a top sport nutritionist and my wife loves spoiling my with healthy cooking. Cooking, the same as exercise are part of our daily family lifestyle.

What is your favourite running brand? 

On running shoes. I have been running in On shoes for the last four years and love their constant innovations and variety in shoe types.

What was a special moment for you as a running coach/ Gold coach? 

As part of my marathon club we had over 50 people taking part in the Gold Coast Marathon Festival in July this year, 35 of them I coach personally using runinng.COACH as the training plan software and app of choice. To offer a personal coaching service and individual plans for this many people would not be possible without the technologies that sit behind running.COACH. We have athletes of all levels training for different events worldwide all year round in road, trail, track and multisport events.

Why should a customer book you as a Gold coach?

The athlete – coach relationship is very important hence the decision needs to be mainly a personal one. If there is a mutual understanding for each other, I can offer over 20 years of personal experience in the sport as well as I offer both onland coaching and personal training in Brisbane as well as online coaching worldwide. Everyone is different and has individual needs so none of my training approach is exactly the same for two people.

 

Would you like to book Pat Nispel as your Gold Coach? You get 10% off till 10th September 2016. It doesn’t matter which Coach your book. Just use the code: GETGOLD10

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Running Form

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The online coaching platform at running.COACH is great for individualized training programs and for athletes that can not commit to scheduled group runs. It allows you to find your own time to run and you know the workout was made just for you based on your training progress and goals.

The coaches are available to answer your questions and give you a poke of motivation when needed but since we can’t have our eyes on you at practice its important you concentrate on running form. Here are some tips to improve form which will make you a more efficient runner and less prone to injury.

Follow the running.COACH suggested drills

On the sidebar of your training calendar you will find daily recommended exercises that compliment your training. Since most bad form and therefore injuries are the effect of week hips, a strong importance is put on increasing the strength and mobility of your hips and glutes.

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Figure 1- Training videos as part of your training package suggest exercises that will aid in running form and injury prevention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barefoot running

If you can find a safe place to take your shoes off, like a soccer/football field or infield of a track, and go for a run you will immediately have improved form. Without the cushion and elevated heal of a shoe your brain won’t let you heel strike. Completing 1-2 short runs (less than 5k) or strides (~100m gentle accelerations) barefoot after a run will improve your form for when you do wear shoes and greatly reduce risk for injury by strengthening of tendon and muscle groups you probably are not used to using. Be sure to ease into barefoot runs, starting with very short duration, as your body will need time to adjust.

Zero Drop Footwear

In addition to barefoot running you can switch to shoes with a Zero Drop, meaning there is no drop in height from your heel to your toes (most typical running shoes will have between 8-13mm of extra height under the heal which promotes harmful heal striking). Zero Drop shoes keep your feet in a natural, barefoot, running position allowing you to run more natural while still receiving the benefits of cushion and protection. Gold Coach Calum Neff is an Altra shoe sponsored athlete and attributes his long stretch of good health and performance to their Zero Drop footwear.

Increase stride rate

One of the best things you can do for your running is to increase the amount of steps you are taking each minute. Elite runners are taking between 180-200 steps every single minute while most runners will find themselves in the 140-160 range. Measure yourself by counting every time your right foot touches the ground over a 20 second period during a normal run on flat hard surface. Multiply that number by 6 to calculate your stride rate in steps per minute. Example: You count your right foot hit the ground 30 times over a 20” period, this gives you a rate of 180. If you find your rate below 180 you should make an effort to increase your stride rate on all of your runs, with a goal of increasing by 10%.

Arm Swing

In general, your arms should swing naturally back-and-forth without crossing the body, with a ~90 degree bent elbow the entire swing, your elbow should not swing any further forward then your hip unless sprinting and your relaxed hands should swing all the way back enough to touch your hips. Arms should remain compact/close to your body and swing speed and range should increase with pace.

Form Strides

When working with athletes one-on-one I always suggest three strides as part of their warm-up that concentrate on one body component at a time. The first stride we focus on staying upright and tall, nothing else. The second we concentrate on good arm swing and the final stride the focus is on fast feet, quick steps.

Gait Analysis

If you are really concerned with your form or have been battling injuries there are a few professional services that can complete 3D gait analysis with feedback on areas you can improve. Alternatively you may discuss with your Gold Coach about sending in a video, preferably filmed at a high rate (60fps or slow motion feature on iPhone).

Running light, smooth, and efficient is something you should always concentrate on. Listen to feedback from your body, like scuffing your feet. Look at the bottoms of your shoes for excessive localized wear. Watching videos, especially of the East Africans running, is not only motivational but good help for your proprioception and visualization of how you want to run.

Neff_KatyHalf16_WR_BillBaumeyerThis blog post was written by Calum Neff, canadian born running.COACH gold coach in the U.S., 2:22h marathoner and Guinness world record holder for the fastest half marathon pushing a stroller in 1:11:27. Are you interested in a personal running coach? Click here.

Taper Week vs. Recovery Week

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There seems to be a growing confusion lately with what to do the week leading into a race. I see Instagram pictures of what appears to be a vacation which their lack of Strava updates confirm and is closely followed by a “Well, my legs just felt flat today” post-race depression. Ever experienced this? Well maybe your taper was to blame.

Pacing Strategies: What Runner Type are You?

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It’s competition time. The hard training weeks are behind you. Now, it is important to recover well and to turn your training into results. One decisive factor in order to succeed is your strategy for the race. Competitions are all about finding the right pace.

The best Running Tips for your Summer Training

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A lot of us have some big goals this Fall, whether it be a marathon or cross country season. It may seem far away but these next months of summer are an important part training. This is the time to build your aerobic base to allow for an easy transition into workouts and races in the Fall. While the training programs will continue with some “maintenance workouts”, this period of training is really about doing long slow distance. Yes! I am telling you to run slow!

Below are some general rules and recommendations to follow but this is where a personal coach and training program can be the most beneficial.

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

― Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Heat Training

Depending on your location you are either having the nicest weather of the year or the worst. For those in the Southern United States you will be dealing with extreme heat and humidity. Becoming an early-bird and running early is one of the best ways to get your training done but don’t be afraid of that indoor treadmill either. Heat and humidity training is actually very beneficial but please be careful, stay hydrated, protect yourself from the sun, and listen to your body.

Increasing Mileage

Your running.COACH plan will give you safe weekly mileage goals adapting to your progress over the summer. A good general rule to follow for increasing your mileage is adding 10% each week. Once you have your first week of running complete, try and add 10% more to the next week. Example: If you start out at 10 miles comfortably, multiply that number by 1.1 [10mi x 1.1 = 11], next week go to 11, then next week go to 12+. After three weeks of increasing, back off and do one week at a lower mileage before resuming your buildup where you left off.

mileage

If you have a few years of healthy running you can start your first week with higher mileage but a max of 30mpw is about as much as you want to begin with. If the body is feeling good and strong keep increasing mileage but always listen to the body. It’s always best to take one day off than to be injured for the season.

Racing

Racing during the summer is a great way to experience new places while you travel, meet fellow runners, and keep in touch with your speed. Throughout Europe, Canada, and the cooler parts of America this is the most popular time to race. This is also a good time to experience the mountains and trails. If you have some goal races through the summer be sure to take enough time off between your Fall season or talk with your coach to plan so that your fitness can carry forward without burning out.

Camps

Another option that is growing in popularity is summer camps, usually run by elite athletes in exotic landscapes in small groups, it provides an opportunity to train like an elite for a week and learn from the best. A Google search should be able to find a destination for you. If you are junior high/high school athlete (sorry adults, this camp is just for the kids this year) there is an opportunity to join me and a number of world class coaches this summer in Reno/Tahoe July 16-20 for the Nevada Altitude Cross Country Camp it is a very educational and beneficial week of training with fellow high school athletes from across the country.

Neff_KatyHalf16_WR_BillBaumeyerThis blog post was written by Calum Neff, canadian born running coach in the U.S., 2:22h marathoner and Guinness world record holder for the fastest half marathon pushing a stroller in 1:11:27. Are you interested in a personal running coach? Click here.