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As the temps drop and the leaves turn, that can only mean one thing. Fall road racing is here.Marathon Runner Group

It can be easy to fall into the mindset of "I have to have the perfect build-up to my race." I'm here to tell you no such thing exists. Here are some tips and tricks to help when the inevitable happens!

1. Injuries happen. It is important to stay calm. Remember you can only control so much. Book an appointment with your physical therapist, reach out to your coach for training adjustments, cross train if necessary, and rest (body and mind). Stress won't help the injury, and can only hurt it further. This doesn't necessarily mean your race is over. Missing time now can be a blessing in disguise for the future!

2. Illness happens. All of the hard work and training can sometimes suppress the immune system. It's not uncommon for marathoners to catch a cold during their taper. Also very easy to panic in this situation, but try not to! There is a lot you can do that will help your body come up. Try and focus on hydration, eating foods that nourish (I crave homemade chicken noodle soup), and extra sleep. Taking off training during this time is recommended. This is your body's way of saying, "hey I need a break so I can perform on race day." Fitness doesn't diminish from a few days off. Try and push through it and you could make it worse.

3. The fatigue will set in, and when it does you will doubt yourself. Don't! Training for a marathon is hard work. One day you're smashing a workout, and the next you're barely able to get out of bed. The body takes time to absorb all the training, so there will be times you feel flat and tired. This is normal, but important to listen to. Give yourself rest if you feel like you need it, as pushing too hard during this time can send you into a hole that is hard to get out of. As you do more and more build ups, you will know the difference between tired and too tired.

4. Nerves are normal. As the race creeps closer, nerves will too. You want the right balance of nerves to help you get excited and not overly anxious. I like to start a book during my taper (no not a running book). Sometimes taking your mind elsewhere when you have a big event coming up is the perfect recipe to help calm things down. Get creative, but find something different to occupy your time that you'd normally spend running more miles. You want non running focus in your life so that you get a break from obsessing over the big day!

5. Enjoy the process. We put so much into a single day that it can get overwhelming. Try and remember part of the fun of this is the preparation. Without this piece the race wouldn't be what it is. Smile and know you are doing something special.



Frank is celebrating the successful completion of the Ottawa Marathon '22 in 3 hours and 50 minutes. 
His story sheds some light on the journey to healthy running amidst a busy lifestyle.Frank Marshall jogging city streets

Major milestone: Ottawa Marathon 2022.  Completed in 03:50 (gun time was probably 03:45 because I finished on the line with the 03:45 pace bunny!).

What is the secret to your success?  Stretching, running, breathing, groceries, walking, more walking.  Having good routes.  I've been running a lot ever since I was 4, but walking and carrying big groceries has been the most stable and consistent thing that has kept my fitness regardless of my general running form or participation in events.  Having people who support you is massive, if you don't know anyone obvious in your vicinity, join a running club or a training program - even if you don't attend all the time, it gets you off the ground to independence at the very least, but can do a lot more as well (Runcoach certainly helped!).  Breathing rhythm is very important, it helps for just about anything that requires effort because it helps you maintain composure in a way I find little else does.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?  Work and family commitments.  I took physical education as an elective in high school every year starting Grade 10, because I couldn't fit a club in to my packed schedule.  During my university years (2008-2020), I didn't always have the time to run much, so I just participated in a handful of small races (<15K).  But during terms, I walked with the patience of knowing that I'd be running again at the end of that testing period, and that would keep me fit enough to get going quickly out of the blocks upon resuming my running.  Running in this case meant playing soccer, long-distance runs, and tennis - all good, different forms of running.

What is the most rewarding part of training?  You feel very good after a tough run because of the adrenaline rush and subsequent clarity of mind, so that gives you the incentive to agonize for an hour.  The clarity of mind comes because your body is functioning well the rest of the day.  You need good eating habits, so that adds to your feeling well during the day.  The adrenaline rush helps you because without that it's hard to get from anywhere other than exercise; new movies don't come out at the cinema every day, sports events occur once a week, eating too much chocolate comes with lows later on because it does something bad to your digestion.  Racing is great because of the way the local community comes out just to see the runners - not to mention the rather tremendous good will you see from volunteers (this is really some of the best of society that you will ever see).  I should say: virtual races done solo are fantastic, though you should probably have at least one person there to provide you drinks and cheer you on for the day.  I ran my first half marathon in 2021 during lockdown.  Having a friend and my parents there made that day more or less as exciting for me as the 2022 in-person event a year later.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?  Personal experience (differs between people, so might not apply to the reader): if you've never run before, don't run unless you've tried walking long distances (e.g., 5K).  Buy running shoes (that was my first mistake, and my foot let me know about it!).  Follow instructions of a coach/teacher or any other trainer (e.g., running partner) who knows more about running than you do.  Try different styles of running.  Absolutely, do 20 minutes of static stretching post-run, 10 minutes of dynamic stretching pre-run.  Eat not too much the night before a run, but have something to eat alongside you during the run.  On a hot day, drink more than you feel like consuming.  On a freezing day, bring gloves and run in loops rather than long stretches.  Try laps before running too far - that way, you calibrate how far your route should be.  Buy a book about running, better if it is a very detailed one, it's worth paying for.  Read a blog (Runcoach blog is amazing).  If you're running and don't feel in control, slow down.  The most important thing is to finish the assigned distance.  Even if the time ends up poor, long-distance running is often about just pushing yourself at this moment in time.  You don't look at people running in the morning and think they're slow or fast; you normally think, "That is someone pushing hard, good for them".  You don't go easy on yourself, though, you go as far as you can go without losing control in the sense that absolutely you must reach the finishing line and you'd rather avoid a bad time as a bonus.

Anything else you would like to share?  My family, my friends, and my teachers have all been important in starting me off, maintaining and developing my running activity throughout the years.  It is to them that I owe all of my achievements, the hard work I put in is largely a reflection of their remarkable efforts over many years.  The people of Runcoach who have provided those Hi-5's have offered brilliant support throughout my training, that is the kind of support that you think about when your legs feel like quitting.  Also, a word for Terry Fox, whose charity run is held in many places worldwide (or virtually, in the areas of some readers).  Look him up if you don't know his story, and try giving up on a hard run after you've read that.  That story gives me a lift sometimes when I feel that the effort is getting too much.  Also, thinking of how good the warm drink and meal back home are going to taste!

What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?  I began with Runcoach using the free trial offered in preparation for the 2021 virtual Ottawa Half Marathon event.  I started it in March 2021 as I began training, concerned from my previous experiences of physical-education courses that I'd be making novice errors during training for a distance >5K longer than my previous distance record.  This was the time of lockdowns and isolation, one that nobody likes looking back to.  Runcoach here was pivotal because it not only pushed me to new distances and raised my general health and performance standard, it helped me through Winter 2021 when lockdowns were in full force and cold conditions meant that indoors was more of a necessity.  I learnt a lot from my coach, he was there every time and punctual whenever I had questions.  The option of the log entries is terrific, and also the adaptation of the schedule after a goal has been reached always seems to work well for me, I rarely feel intimidated.


Summer Running Tips

August 29, 2022

smoothieThe adjustment to heat training is not easy, and not always fun either. We want to share some ways to help summer training not be entirely miserable, and, you may find you even gain more fitness along the way thanks to the added stress heat puts on your body!

1-RUN EARLY: Set yourself up for SUCCESS by running first thing in the morning. It is way easier to wake up, run early, and get it done, than to have life get in the way and you're left trying to force a run in the heat or after a long day.

2-HYDRATE: We recommend waking up at least 30 minutes before you head out for a run to consume 12-24oz of electrolytes. If you have a long run or a hard workout, get creative with your options during the run... know where you can stop every 2-4miles to get a drink, leave a bottle and run a 2-4mile loop or out and backs, carry a bottle, or have a friend/significant other bike with you to provide fluids. More tips on hydration here.

3-ADJUST: Recognize that heat is an additional stress on your body. You should not expect to hit the same splits as you could on a cool day. Slow down, focus on effort vs pace. Add in an extra minute of two of recovery in between intervals or pause tempos to dump water on your head and to get a drink. Cut the long runs back a mile or two or find locations more suitable for hot weather that can provide more shade, and listen to your body if you start to feel dizzy or over heated... be smart! You can also do your quality sessions on the treadmill if you want to stick to paces and build confidence that you are not out of shape.

4-RECOVER: To help boost recovery after a hot run, take a cool shower, get in the pool, or put your feet in a creek to bring the core temperature down. You will find this strategy will prevent you from feeling so zapped the rest of the day. More recovery tips here to help you reset after a hard day of training.

5-REHYDRATE: After a hot workout, you will be in the hole in terms of hydration. Spend the first 30 minutes post run being sure to get in a lot of fluids. I recommend an electrolyte mix because something with flavor is more appealing and it will help you get caught up on your hydration needs. Rehydrating after a workout in the heat is critical to ward off cramps, injury, and allows the body to be ready to run again tomorrow!

6-REFUEL: It can be tough to eat after a workout in the heat. The belly often feels icky, but replenishing is very important to reap the benefit of the workout you just put your body through! Try greek yogurt, fruit, a smoothie (Summer Smoothie recipe!), kombucha, coconut water, or protein shake. These liquid calories are easier on the stomach and your body will be able to start the recovery process once you get some fuel in the tank. Interested in nutrition for runners? More info here.

We hope you can use these tips to help you crush your training this summer, please reach out if you have any follow up questions!



Runcoach trainee Beth , shares her incredible story of self-belief, trusting the process, and beating the odds!  

Beth_R._cusromer_success_imageMajor milestone:
From a Wheelchair to Marathon Training is my "MAJOR" milestone that is just incredible... a miracle!


What is the secret to your success? Do a little more today than yesterday. Read on to learn about Beth's 10 steps challenge. 


What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?
In May 2014 I was a cyclist riding hundreds of miles a week. I crashed and landed on my head and face, suffering a Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI for short. My 3 adult children quit and/or took family leave and moved back home to help me get back on my feet. They would say "We got you, don’t worry.”
The first big breakthrough was taking 10 steps. The next day, I went 20 steps. This led to an obsession to add 10 steps a day. I started keeping notes on graph paper. It took two months, and it was a huge accomplishment the first time I ran a mile without stopping! My dog ran every step with me.


What is the most rewarding part of training? I’m proud of myself!!! I ran my first 5K in 2015, then a bunch of trail races. In fact, it is my belief that running and trail running are the reasons my brain has made improvements. I’m reminded of Dr. Jay Alberts, who works with MS patients and advocate for working hard and pushing limit to enhance brain function. I’ve also met some fantastic people, and made some great friends.


What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
It’s fun to change up your routes, especially try to make your long run an adventure! It is my hope that somewhere along the line my story will help even just one other person with a brain injury. It is running that made all the difference in my progress.

 

Anything else you would like to share?
Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have believed that I would become a runner. Nevertheless be training at 63 years old, to run in the NYC Marathon!!!


What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience? I’m one that tends to overdo it and get injured. Runcoach is a reliable way to build gradually and be successful (ha- I hope lol).


Your activity contributions go a long way!jennie Movecoach understands employees move in all different ways. Below we've worked with your employer and the NHS to even the playing field, and give cyclists, yogis and walkers the same chance to earn Oktappreciate points for your movement.

*All points are rewarded on a monthly basis, based on the criteria below. 

You must use your Okta email to be eligible to earn rewards in our Oktappreciate platform. Our points system cannot identify personal emails.


Every 20 points = $1 USD or 1 Oktappreciate point

How to earn points by logging activity: 

Per week = 20 points

  • Complete 3 workouts per week (yoga, cross train, classes)
  • Complete 3 mindfulness sessions
  • Cycle 75 miles (120 KM)
  • Step 21 miles (34 KM)
  • Run 21 miles (34 KM)
  • Walk 21 miles (34 KM)
  • Swim 5 miles (8 KM)

 

Per month = 120 points

  • Complete 5 week cross train streak
  • Complete 5 week walk streak
  • Complete 5 week cycle streak
  • Complete 5 week swim streak
  • Complete 5 week run streak
  • Complete 5 week mindfulness streak
  • Complete 5 week workout streak

In order to earn points for the race, the race must be logged within the same month the race was completed.

Log a result from an organized RACE = 100 - 800points

  • <5K = 100 points
  • 10K-20K = 140 points
  • Half marathon (21.1K Distance) = 200 points
  • Marathon (42K distance)/ half ironman = 400 points
  • Ironman = 8000 points

FAQ (for Okta employes only):

1) Can I earn more than 20 points per week and/or more than 120 points per week?

Yes, combine any of the listed activities to maximize your points.

For example, if you log more than 3 workouts per week, the most you can earn is 20 points But, if you workout more than 3x, cycle more than 75 miles, and meditate 3x all within a week, you've earned a total of 60 points per week!

**It is an employee's responsibility to report any missing points within 30 days, otherwise those points are forfeited. Points are uploaded around the 10th of every month in Oktappreciate for the month prior. EXAMPLE: Points earned in January should be posted around February 10th, and you would have until March 10th to report any missing points from January.



Cap_City_Half-tracy_treneffTracy recently ran a blistering 10K, which is his best fitness level result by more than 10 points. We asked him about his journey to this break-through race and any secrets to success he'd like to share.

Major milestone
: Ran a 10k in 45 minutes. The last mile I ran at a 5:55 pace. I had never run a mile under 7:00 prior to this.

What is the secret to your success? Setting lofty goals and religiously following the plan Runcoach puts in front of me. Choosing a competitor in my age group from an upcoming race that I want to beat and training as hard as I can to accomplish that goal.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? Staying within the training plan. I try to do too much and suffer small injuries.

What is the most rewarding part of training? Seeing the results. Last year I ran half marathons at a 8:55-9:05 pace. This year I'm sure I can run at 7:55.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community? Follow the plan as closely as you can and don't try to exceed the limits given in the training plan or eventually you'll suffer an injury and ultimately have to completely start over.

Anything else you would like to share? I love the quick responses and encouragement from the coaches when I have questions or issues.

What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience? It is a great program. I needed some guidance because I started running 2 years ago and had no idea what I was doing. I didn't necessarily need a personal coach to watch me 24/7, I just needed a good training program, some videos to watch to see how it is done, and someone knowledgeable to answer any questions I might have-all of which Runcoach provides. My heel-to-toe running has transformed to ball of the foot first with push and feels more natural and easy thanks to this program.


Rest is Best

May 21, 2022

Written by Rosie Edwards.

We are runners. And for many of us (as runners), our mentality is to GO, GO, GO! We love to push the boundaries of what we think our bodies can do and live to test the waters in order to gain that extra 1%.

But have you ever stopped to think about how our bodies absorb all of the hard work that we put in?

Insert the HOLY GRAIL of training, REST.

rest_blog_image



You might notice the Runcoach schedule has a "6 day max" of run day assignments.  Why does every individual need at least one day off? Let's find out:


- Recovery: Training is a stimulus or stress which elicits a response. We stress our bodies through physical activity. It is within recovery that we see super compensation of fitness development through cellular adaptation, further capillarization in the leg muscles, and improved blood chemistry to move oxygen to our working muscles. 


- Injury prevention:
It’s no secret that running can be hard on the body. Many of us are road runners. We pound away at the concrete in preparation for our next big opportunity to go fast. Our muscles, joints and bones need a break from this.

 

- Mental breaks: Sure, running is fun, and it can be a great stress reliever. However, a rigorous training program can be mentally challenging, too. A rest day helps to give you time to enjoy other hobbies and avoid burnout.


- Replenishing glycogen stores
: When training we use the glycogen in our muscles for energy and it can be a training regimen in itself to keep these stores topped off through adequate nutrition. A rest day provides you with a day to top off precious glycogen stores in preparation for your next big run.

 

So next time that you put your feet up, feel good about it. Rest is an invaluable part of your training too, after all.



Night_running_croppedIn order to fully enjoy the benefits and experience of outdoor exercise, it is important to stay safe.  Although some basics seem fairly simple and even obvious as sound preventative measures, even experienced runners and walkers might do well to review a few simple safety tips.  Although mishaps are rare, the habit of good safety practices can really make a difference that one time when you are desperate for help.

 

Tell someone when and where you are going

If someone is expecting you at a certain time and you don’t arrive, they might send the help or make the call that might prove crucial in that very small chance that you really are in trouble. If no one is aware that you are past due or where you might have gone, those who care about you might have a much tougher time tracking you down.  Leaving a note on the counter, sending a text, or just telling a friend, family member, or co-worker what you are up to is a good habit to keep.  Even if you live alone, leaving a note to be seen by someone else in the event another needed to enter your house while looking for you, a text to someone else, or even an online calendar entry take next to no time at all, and can help others to track you down if things really have gone awry.

 

Be visible

Whether you are running or walking at dusk or dawn, in bad weather or hazy good weather, on a remote trail or a busy road, it does not hurt to wear bright clothes. Make choices that ensure other pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, and others can see you.  Be visible to traffic coming the opposite direction when you don’t have an ample shoulder, be visible if you are sharing a bike path with quickly moving wheeled vehicles, and be visible if you turn an ankle, fall into the bushes and need some help.  If you don’t like loud clothing, a bright hat or even a white hat / visor can often do the trick.  Time to jump on board with the neon trend, even if that means donning a reflective vest at night.  That split second of recognition can make a huge difference in a challenging traffic situation.

 

Have water

This piece is not the space where we talk in depth about the value of hydration as a training tool.  However, water can be crucial if stuck in hot weather or other challenging situations.  It is such a simple thing to bring a water bottle that we might take it for granted, but if you have ever been in a prolonged situation where clean water would have been useful, you will likely never forget again.

 

Be aware of your surroundings

Just like the defensive driving course you took as a high schooler, runners and walkers should always keep their surroundings in mind.  Scanning the path ahead will allow you to stay one step ahead of dangerous situations.  Keep your eyes open for individuals who might be following you in city locales, for quickly opening car doors, for cars entering and exiting driveways.  Be on the look out for wildlife that might pose a problem in less densely populated areas, aggressive dogs with no visible means of restraint or territorial boundaries, and topography with an ankle-challenging pothole ahead.  Furthermore, either ditch the headphones, wear them in one ear only, or turn the volume low enough that you can still be aware of the ambient noise.  That moment of awareness can make the difference.

 

When possible, go with a buddy

Many of us run or walk solo more often than not, but when possible, it is always safer to go along with a friend who can help if something goes awry, and make any individuals with less than wholesome intent think twice about encountering you.

 

Finally, leave a trail

Well, not literally like Hansel and Gretel, but GPS enabled devices, a phone that can indicate your location even if you are unable to – these things can make a big difference.  You might already be carrying your phone for music, but it may prove to be even more important in this capacity.  With running shorts now sporting several pockets, and companies coming up with new types of light pouches every day, there are many ways to carry these things without impacting performance or your enjoyment.

 



"You're only as good as your training, and your training is only as good as your thinking." -Lauren Oliver
Article written by Neely Gracey
Updated by Rosie Edwardstrust_the_process


If this is your first race ever, or your 1,000th race, in running, there are times where it gets tough while racing. Especially in the longer races. The doubts, negative thoughts, and emotions can sneak in and take over. Training your mind to focus on positive things will keep you moving forward towards your goals. The mantra you need today may change or evolve, or perhaps you need a few to get you through different parts of the race. Here are some ideas to get you started! 

Stronger Every Mile

Run Grateful

Chase The Dream

Attitude Is Everything

Every Mile Is A Gift

I Can, I Will

Fit, Fast, Fierce

You Are Strong

Focused Every Step

Embrace The Struggle

Breathe

Trust The Process

Be Strong

Attitude Determines Direction

Focus Ahead

Never Give Up

Relax

Be Fearless

Run Hard, Be Strong, Don't Quit

Chase Progress

Run With Ambition

Feed Your Focus

Run Inspired

Believe In You

Focus Determines Reality

One Foot In Front Of The Other

Conquer From Within

Relentless Spirit

Tough Times Don't Last

Enjoy The Journey

Strive For Progress

Positive Mind, Positive Outcome












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