Thank you to those who came out to our Coaches Corner Q&A! We had a wide variety of questions that our Coaches were able to field and answer. This was a fantastic way to get some more personalized coaching and to get a better handle on your training. If you missed it, don't worry! Here's an overview of things we discussed! Feel free to reach out to any of your coaches and mentors should you have any other questions!
1. Running in a Group: What is the best way to deal with your pace vs. the group pace? What's the etiquette for running in a group?
We often find that when you get a group of runners together that are roughly the same pace they are going to go a little faster than one maybe used to running on their own. Why does this happen? With the group you generally have more adrenaline pumping through your veins, there are more distractions around you - friends, group mates, new scenery, you maybe less familiar with the route, etc. The group setting provides a lot of positive energy to your runs, you are held more accountable, you are more likely to push yourself further if the person next you is in it with you, and you are often distracted by the fact that you get to talk to friends and learn more about your group mates. However, sometimes you will find that you as a group push that pace - that in fact you are running faster than you should be (see the notes on pacing below). Here are some ways around that - set one person to set the pace. Your mentors will help out with this. Rely on a GPS device if you are considerably worried about it (ie. you find you are sucking wind at the end of your runs because you raced the first couple of miles), having a GPS device can also help train your body to 'know' what a X:XX min/mile pace feels like. Always have open communication with your group - chances are if your group went out too fast in the beginning then you won't be the only one feeling it.
When it comes to the etiquette of running in a group here are some good tips:
- Always know where you are. Safety is always our number 1 concern. Even though running in a group is much safer than running on your own, it's important to know where you are at all times - don't just be following the person in front of you - be an active follower. Take a route slip, know the route, and pick your head up to look around you from time to time. Also, DO NOT run after the group into an intersection, make sure you are checking the street for any traffic.
- Leave some room between runners. The sidewalks around here have their fair share of cracks and uneven surfaces. Don't trip your neighbor or take them down with you, domino style.
- Call out ("ROOT" or "CRACK") when you see a hazard in your path. Also goes for bikers ("BIKE UP" means there is a bike in front of the group, "BIKE BACK" someone's coming up from behind), runners and groups, other pedestrians, and any other traffic.
- When you are on a skinny sidewalk, always make room for others to pass you. This means you may have to run single-file. Always, always be polite - say "hi", "Good morning", etc. Make those people running on their own want to join your awesome and fun group!
2. Pacing? The ever loaded question.
The long and the short of pacing is, we put everyone into pace groups so you are able to train better. The mile time trial at the beginning and end of the season allow us to show you how much you've improved! But once we have those mile times we take them and put them into an online training calculator - the McMillian Calculator - to give us a couple different paces for each of you. The paces are (the ones that we use):
- Long Run Pace - this is supposed to be 90-120 seconds slower than your mile time. It's also supposed to feel slow, easy effort. We want you to be running your long mileage at this pace because you are building up the miles on your legs. The faster you run these runs (outside of the recommended long run pace) the likelihood of you getting injured will increase. You should be able to hold a conversation the entire time (except maybe on a very large hill, ie. Hillsborough).
- Tempo Pace - this is supposed to be 60-90 seconds slower than your mile time. It's at a medium effort compared to your long run pace, but is still not supposed to be hard. You should be able to give one or two word answers to questions that are asked.
- Speed Pace - this is maybe a couple seconds faster than your mile pace, however with this pace you will be doing workouts that are shorter than 1 mile (think 400 repeats, 800 repeats, etc). We do not generally use this pace that much. Consistently training at this pace for speed workouts requires building up a substantial base mileage, if you are interested in building up to this type of training we would recommend checking out the Advanced Half and Full Marathon Program!
We take the time to give you this information about the different paces because it's very important with your training to be aware of the pace. Carolyn made a great point that being more intentional with your pace, by doing the long runs at the prescribed pace and the tempo/faster runs at the tempo pace you will see a big improvement in your endurance. Someone once said you have to train slow to go faster and it is so true - here's a great article that backs us up. We will easily burn ourselves out if we consistently train too fast.
It was suggested for those who aren't feeling like they get the most out of their long runs because it feels too slow - try adding some strides at the end of your workout. This change in speed after your body has been steadily crushing miles will be a good way to engage your fastwitch muscles and get some speed going while your body is fatigued.
3. Recovery - okay now I ran 12 miles and everything hurts, what do I do?!
4. Nutrition - trial and error and trial, again!