October – Week #5: The Secret Sauce

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Today we are talking about Fitzgerald calls the “secret sauce” of successful running: consistency.

Consistency is what enables us to continue progressing. It’s what makes this years 5K pace next years half marathon pace, this years 10K pace next years 15K pace, this years 15K pace next years Half Marathon pace next years Marathon pace!

Steady consistency in our strength work + steady consistency in our running and speed work = successfully reaching our goals and improving not only our running but our overall health and fitness!

We’re runners. We want to run! But how do we ensure we are able run more consistently? Consider that the annual injury rate is somewhere around 75% for most runners. This is HIGHER than professional football! With an injury rate so high, how do we stay consistent with our running? Runner specific strength training! These go hand in hand and each should be a part of your regular training routine. Strength is NOT an add on.

By making strength a consistent part of our routine, we are able to prevent more injuries. If we are able to prevent more injuries, we don’t have to start over from scratch after a long layoff. We won’t have to waste time getting into shape because we’ll already be in shape.

Imagine what it would feel like to have this kind of control of your running? To not be sidelined each time you have a goal race coming up? To run a strong training cycle and be able to accomplish your goals?!

The consistency that comes from healthy, injury-free running can help you reach your goals and keep you on the road doing what you love the most…running.

If you’ve been slacking on consistency, there is no better time to get back to it than today. Our monthly challenge doesn’t start on a Monday or on the first day of the month. There’s no reason to wait till tomorrow, or November 1st, or next week…start today.

The Strength Running Injury Prevention for Runners program requires consistency with an arsenal of workouts designed specifically for runners. These workouts are ALL you need to do. You don’t need to go to body pump or boot camp, you don’t need to spin or swim, you don’t need to do 100 crunches everyday. Yes, there are lots of good exercises and classes out there, yes spinning and swimming are good cross training tools…but if you are mixing in other workouts you might not be strengthening the areas that are most important for runners. If you are doing intense cardio other than running, you may be doing too much. As runners, we get LOTS of cardio…why do more?

Instead you can use the simple and effective strength workouts from Strength Running consistently each week to get stronger, fitter, healthier AND faster. Just think…by being consistent, you could be able to run the exact same route in a few months FASTER than you do it today AND feel better when you are done. All with the same level of effort.

There’s no reason to make it more complicated.

You have all the tools you need to run strong. It’s up to you to do them consistently.

If you’re not convinced that these workouts are all you need check out some of the Strength Running testimonials below…

“I am a 67 year old male who started running 2 years ago. After using the Injury Prevention for Runners programI ran my third half marathon in mid-November and I remained injury free up to and during the run. I completed the race at 2:32:23 which is 6:13 faster than my previous best time and I did it with a significant negative split. Injury Prevention for Runners has made the difference and allowed me to train injury free. I continue to follow your program and look forward to my next half marathon in mid-January and hopefully another PR.” – Bruce

“Quick testimonial. I’m a 52 year old male. Developed calf strains in my 30’s which limited my running and eventually ended my ability to run at all. Quit trying to run at age 40, tired and defeated from not finding an answer to my calf issues. I have been searching for answers all this time, because I never got over my love for running.

Decided to try the program but honestly was very skeptical because everything I tried over the years didn’t help.  After just three weeks, I’m amazed and very happy with the results. The tension on my calves is not there any more.  I am taking it easy, but I have already run farther and faster than I ever thought I would.” – Dave

“Only 2 months ago I could not run 2k.  Bad episode of acute ITBS that has been with me for as long as I can remember. This weekend I ran 18k in a balmy 0 degrees without any issues. Injury Prevention for Runners made it possible. Thanks to Injury Prevention for Runners I’m back on track for my Boston Marathon 2018!” – Remko

“I was at the end of my rope after suffering from ongoing ITBS, runner’s knee, hip pain, ankle pain… I love running but I couldn’t do more with risking more injury.

Then I started this program and OMG – the injuries have stopped. Even though it’s been almost 4 months now, I’m almost afraid to say it out loud. I simply expect to have knee pain all of time. But I don’t.

Get this! I’m am now running 30-35 miles per week and training for a marathon. And I’m not only running more miles and longer distances, I’m actually running faster. I ran 16 miles on Sunday in 2:16:21 – or 8:31/mi pace. Just five months ago I was running 5 miles at a 9:30/mi pace. Unbelievable. Thanks so much. I look forward to doing more with you in the coming year.” – Tim


All of these runners paid around $200 for this program. I paid $200 for this program. I purchased it for myself because I am sold on the Strength Running program and Jason Fitzgerald. You are getting all the info PLUS weekly speed work, accountability, friendship, ongoing advice and motivation for your STTC monthly dues. Here’s the thing Crew…if you’re not taking advantage of the info, if you are not being consistent with your workouts…why do you pay to be here? I’m not telling you to leave…but I do want you to get the most out of what we are doing and that takes consistency! 🙂

October – Week #5: Consistency

It’s time to put that consistency to work and get our schedule set up for the week. If you weren’t able to jump in this morning during our FB live 6am workout, you can still find it in our “announcements” in Strong to the Core. The Standard Core Routine is this weeks new core routine! We are adding this into the rotation with the Tomahawk Routine (these two can be swapped out) and this combo should be done at least 3 times each week. Amiee and I also did the workout last week at the park and that video is below. We have another great workout to add soon but in the meantime, below is an outline of what our week will look like.

*The chart only goes to a 30 minute 5K so I went ahead and worked out up to 40 minutes for the 5K.
  • 31:00 = 10:45 – 11:45
  • 32:00 = 11:00 – 12:00
  • 33:00 = 11:15 – 12:15
  • 34:00 = 11:30 – 12:30
  • 35:00 = 11:45 – 12:45
  • 36:00 = 12:00 – 13:00
  • 37:00 = 12:15 – 13:15
  • 38:00 =  12:30 – 13:30
  • 39:00 = 12:45 – 13:45
  • 40:00 = 13:00-14:00

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November Challenge

We are at the end of October…only a few days left until the first of November and it’s time to get those dues in. We are sticking with this program for November! There is more info and more workouts to come. I hope you are taking advantage of a great program for runners, the Injury Treatment programs when needed, and planning each week so that you are able to get the most out of your training. I will put up a post today tagging those due for November. If you know you are due and want to get caught up or if you see these posts and want to join our #CoreCrew here is the link for more info on Strong to the Core and payment links! 🙂

Speed Work

This weeks speed work is for those who are NOT racing over the weekend. Remember you can always do strides at the end of any easy run. Strides at the end of an easy run can be pick ups or fartleks OR you can stop and do full strides with breaks in between. This is great way to get those legs turning over and still keep most of your run “easy”. Just make sure you are keeping the strides short and not overdoing it.

For everyone else, weekly speed work is another KEY part of your training. Speed work not only helps us get faster, it also promotes quick leg turnover and proper running form, increased aerobic and anaerobic capabilities, increased VO2 Max and it’s fun! Well…it’s fun once you get over the anxiety of doing it. But I promise that if you give it a go, you will feel less anxious next time and you will feel pretty badass when you’re done!

If you don’t have a specific race coming up and you’re just in a “getting stronger and building mileage” you should still do speed work! Throwing a little (20% of your average weekly miles) speed work into your routine you WILL see improvements. Key factor is keeping the mileage to 20% of your total miles for the week.

Example: If you are running an average of…

  • 10 miles/week = 2 miles of speed work
  • 20 miles/week = 4 miles of speed work
  • 30 miles/week = 6 miles of speed work
  • 40 miles/week = 8 miles of speed work
  • 50 miles/week = 10 miles of speed work

This weeks workout: Fartleks for Everyone!

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This week we are doing a basic fartlek workout. This workout is good for every runner! It promotes fast running with easy running mixed in and can be done anywhere. No track needed. If you are training for a longer distance race, you can add more sets of fartleks to your workout OR you can contact me about more individualized coaching. Check out the STTC Running Coach page for more info. 🙂

The Workout: Sabre Routine + 4-5 miles with 6-8 x 1:00 @ 10K pace / 2:00 easy recovery (walk, walk then go into easy run or easy run) + Standard Core Routine

Let me know if you have questions. Sample Garmin set up is below.

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What part of your training are you slacking on? Are you lacking in consistency in your running? Strength? Warm up? Post run strength like planks and wall sits? How will you practice consistency in your week areas this week? Be honest with yourself. You don’t have to tell me or anyone else….you know what you’re not doing…

You can change this habit right now. Start practicing consistency today by adding in that workout you’ve been putting off. Start following along with the plan — the whole plan — and you will start seeing results. You’ll feel less pain and you will run stronger.

Key word this week = Consistency

Consistency is related to success. Hang out with consistency more than once in a while to see those results you are craving!

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October – Week #3: Which Comes First Cardio or Weights?

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The Strength Running program with Jason Fitzgerald includes some expert interviews that dial into a lot more about strength training and how to use the principals we are learning and put them all together into a well rounded plan. This week, we are listening to one of the expert interviews and starting a discussion about it.

First up…which comes first, cardio or weights?

This is an audio file. You can download it to your computer or save the link on your phone and listen in the car or on a run!

Cardio or Weights? 

Conversation Starter: After listening, which do you think come first? Cardio or weights?

Week #3 Outline:

We are not adding any new strength workouts this week. Last week we added the workouts below so let’s keep working on these (in rotation) so we continue to get more familiar with them. Here’s how your week should look. Plan ahead to make sure you don’t get behind!

In addition to everything we are learning, the Strength Running program comes with access to a book called 101 Ways to Become a Better Runner: A Short Guide to Running Faster, Preventing Injuries and Feeling Great. Each week we will look at a couple tips that we can incorporate into our training arsenal. Some of it you will already be familiar with and some will be new, be open to learning new things and you might find something useful!

*Tips courtesy of Jason Fitzgerald with Strength Running

Tip 1: Hill workouts don’t always have to be repetitions

Every coach I know encourages a good hill workout. And for good reason – they build leg strength, help prevent injuries when done correctly, and give you a great aerobic stimulus (i.e., help you develop endurance). But they shouldn’t be the only hills you’re running.

In addition to a hill repetition workout, you can also run “rollercoaster runs” throughout the week. These are simply easy or moderate paced distance runs that are run on hilly terrain. Don’t run fast on the uphills and downhills; just keep your effort constant for the entire run. Including 2-8 (or more!) hills of different lengths and grades during a typical run will help you build resilience and improve your running economy. Just limit your hilly days to 2-3 per week to ensure you’re recovering properly.

Tip 5: Be a “core whore”

My wife jokes that I’m a core whore because I make a 15-20 minute core session an almost daily part of my post-run routine. You don’t necessarily need to do a core workout every day, butstart doing one about 3 times per week and you’ll start seeing real results.

Focus on whole body exercises that you can do anywhere, like pushups, planks, bridges, and lunges. An effective general strength routine that I used frequently is the Standard Core Routine. (This routine is coming!) Another great core routine is the Tomahawk Core Routine which you can find here.

A more strength oriented workout is the ITB Rehab/Strength Routine which is focused on glute and hip strength (yes these are part of our core). Glutes and Hips and two areas that are particularly weak among most distance runners. This routine is great for overall injury prevention and strength, and is not just for those who suffer from Illiotibial Band Syndrome.

Tip 6: Core is about more than your abs

Keep in mind that your core is about much more than just your ab muscles. Include exercises that engage your lower back, hips, and glutes – all of these muscles are important to stabilizing your body when you’re running.

Even if you’re in the gym lifting weights, you’re using your core muscles. Exercises like the squat, dead lift, and weighted lunge all work your core muscles and help stabilize your upper body. Don’t limit yourself to sit-ups every day!

Tip 15: Don’t over-stride when you run

Over-striding means landing with your foot significantly in front of your body. Over-striders are usually aggressive heel strikers and put more stress on their legs than those who don’t over- stride. This extra stress on our legs can lead to injuries.

Instead, make sure your feet are landing underneath your center of mass. Try to envision just“putting your foot down” underneath your body rather than reaching out with your foot. This simple cue will help you run more efficiently with a more compact stride.

Conversation Starter: Do any of this weeks tips resonate with you? Would love to hear your thoughts. Let’s start a conversation about how we can turn these tips into easy ways to become a better runner!!

Speed Work: Long Interval Repeats 

There are two kinds of runners: those who don’t do high-intensity intervals and those who do them wrong.

Ok…that’s a generalization, but there is some truth to the statement. Many non-competitive runners do all of their runs at more or less the same, moderate intensity. They build fitness for long distance races by adding distance to their workouts, not intensity.

Runners who are interested in getting faster typically do high-intensity intervals. This is a good start, but there’s usually not a lot of variation in their interval workouts. Typically runners lean heavily on what they know they can run fast, short intervals like 400 meters performed at very high speeds on a track.

There’s nothing wrong with these workouts and they do have their merits, but it’s also important to do longer interval workouts at a slightly lower (but still high) intensity. In fact, you will get more benefit from intervals lasting longer than 5 minutes each than you would get from shorter intervals.

To understand why, you first need to understand that the purpose of high-intensity interval training is not to make you faster. It’s to make you less fatigued when going fast! You may already be able to run short distances pretty fast but most likely what you lack is the ability to sustain high speeds over long distances. Long intervals do a better job than short intervals of increasing this crucial ability, which is sometimes called “intensive endurance.”

What matters most in high-intensity interval training for distance runners is not how fast you go but how much time you spend going fast. The faster you go in your intervals, the less time you’ll be able to spend going fast before you become fatigued. By keeping your pace in check in longer interval, high-intensity interval workouts, you can complete the entire workout and get a bigger boost in intensive endurance.

How Hard Is Hard Enough? This is especially problematic for runners. By the time you realize you’ve gone out too fast in a race, it’s already too late. When the alarm bells starts to ring, you’re already about to blow up! You can dial the pace back and recover to finish, but you’re already burned out, and your hopes of a PR might have gone up in smoke.

Long Interval repeats  can be the secret weapon you can incorporate in your training. Interval training has been a part of all solid training plans for decades. Moderately long efforts at high intensity are a great way to explore your faster pace abilities without risking the wear and tear of giving 100% in training.

These benefits alone are enough to make middle distance repeats a must in any running program, but there’s an important side benefit for newer runners and racers. 

The reason so many new runners (and experienced ones too) going out too hard and blowing up early has to do with the gap between their expectations and their physical ability. Maybe they’ve been running by feel all through training, so when race morning comes, the adrenaline makes a fast first mile feel great…for the first mile.

Middle distance repeats bring a heavy dose of reality to our training. Paired with a stopwatch or GPS running watch, you find out what pace you are actually capable of, without the risks and expense of going all-out. You’ll run that first mile repeat fast and feel great, but halfway through the third, your body’s going to give you a big old spoonful of truth serum. By the fourth repeat interval, you’ll have settled down into something much closer to your race-day pace. Once you’ve found that pace, it’s much easier to plan a strategy that will get you the fastest possible time at your next big event.

“Repeats” means just that. You ideally want to run each middle distance interval at the same pace. None of these intervals are meant to be run all out. This is self-correcting to a certain point, but you’ll want to run your first one at a level of effort you think you can maintain for your last one. Try to keep your speed even throughout all of your laps/repeats, rather than surging and sagging. You’re looking for a cruise control setting, not a top speed.

Between workout sets, take enough time for your heart rate and respiration to settle down close to normal. Depending on the length of your repeats this can be anywhere from :90 – 3-4 minutes. Stay moving enough to not get cold. Move around, do some easy leg swings or other drills but don’t do anything strenuous that would keep your heart rate from coming down.

At the end of your last repeat, you should be just about cooked. You should feel like you could keep running, but there’s almost no way you could repeat the interval again at the same pace.

The Workout: Long Intervals

Long Interval repeat workout for a 5k: 

  • Warm up – Easy 800m – 1 mile jog
  • Dynamic stretching (Sabre Routine)
  • Strides – 2 – 4x
  • 6 x 800m repeats with :90 rest
  • Cool down – Easy 400m – 800m jog

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Long Interval Workout for a 10k:

  • Warm up – Easy 1 mile jog
  • Dynamic Stretching (Sabre Routine)
  • Strides – 3 – 5x
  • 3 x 1600m (1 mile) repeats with :90 rest
  • Cool down – Easy 400m – 800m jog

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Long Interval Workout for a Half Marathon:

  • Warm up: 1-2 miles easy
  • Dynamic Stretching (Sabre Routine)
  • Strides 4 – 6x
  • 2 x 2 mile repeats with 2:00 rest
  • Cool down – Easy 1 mile jog

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Long Interval Workout for a Marathon:

  • Warm up: 2 miles easy
  • Dynamic Stretching (Sabre Routine)
  • Strides 4 – 6x
  • 3 x 2 mile repeats with 2:00 rest
  • Cool down – Easy 1-2 mile jog

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Practice Patience and Run Smart – It may take one or two tries to get into a groove on your half-mile or mile repeats. The biggest thing to remember is to not get too aggressive. Once you know you can crank out all of the repeats at close to the same pace, you can try bringing the pace down a bit next time or using that pace at your next race. It should get you in the ballpark of your best effort, and it may even set you up for a great kick to the finish.

Save the racing for race day. Reckless sprints are for kids and adults who don’t mind getting injured. Incorporating long interval repeats into your regular running program will pay big dividends in increased aerobic performance, experience working at faster paces, and setting a realistic expectation of what you can accomplish on race day.

Have a great week Crew! Remember to plan ahead for your strength and your speed work! Links are all over this page. Use them and save them for later! xoxoxo

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October – Week #2: Prevention & Treatment + New Strength Routines!

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Going into the 2nd week of October, we are going to take inventory of how we are feeling and some of the injuries or niggles we’ve dealt with in the past. We will continue with our strength workouts and adding a revised dynamic warm up routine as well as a 2 new (very quick) strength routines. These strength routines will be added into the rotation but can also be a substitute when you are short on time but still want to get in some strength!

Prevention and Treatment follow the same route so even if we aren’t currently injured, why not start getting familiar with a treatment program that matches our “injury history” to prevent future injuries from becoming a problem in the first place?

Maybe you’re feeling good now but these injuries can come back when we least expect it. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re cured and there’s no chance of recurrence.

Instead, we’re going to be proactive and get ahead and any underlying issues now!

When runners get hurt there are a few areas that are mostly likely to be the culprit. Below is a list of the most common running injuries and a link to the prevention and treatment plan that is right for you. These are comprehensive treatment programs that will help you decipher if what you are feeling is the injury or if maybe you are dealing with something different. It is important to make sure you are treating the right injury with the right treatment, and equally important to see a doctor if the injury is too severe to treat yourself.

There are other injuries that we see pop up. If you are dealing with something else, reach out to me and let’s chat about which strength routines to incorporate into your treatment and how to prevent it from happening again.

When you get a chance to look through these prevention/treatment programs, please comment and let me know what you think. I would love to hear some feedback!

October – Week #2 Plan

This week we will continue with our 3 strength workouts 3 times each. Plan ahead so you are able to get in your strength around your personal schedule. Don’t wait till the end of the week to get started! Speed work for the week is also below.

Week 2 Outline:

*Links to each workout are above. If you use the You Tube app or have a You Tube login, please save these videos in your favorites so you can find them quickly when you need them. This post will also be our FB STTC “announcement for the week” so you can check back to access the workouts.

Stiletto Routine: The Stiletto Routine is one of our new workout this week! The Stiletto Routine focuses on our glutes while also strengthening our hips, hamstrings and lower back. We are adding this into the rotation and it will replace the ITB routine. You can mix these two workouts to keep it fresh!

***In addition***

  1. Chakram OR Sand Routine – Take a look at the routines below and add ONE of these routines to your schedule 2x this week. These are quick (5-10 min) and effective ways to build strength and you can add these on days when you are short on time.
  2. Sabre Warm Up – Below the two options for this week you will see the Sabre Warm Up Routine. This is a 10 minute dynamic warm up routine that you will be mostly familiar with but there are some small additions. This routine is performed BEFORE your run! Yes, you have to plan a little more time but you will benefit greatly from a gentle warm up!

Option #1: Chakram Routine – This routine develops balance, general athleticism and proprioception. Proprioception is the sense of the relative position of one’s own parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement. In a sense, this is our ability to perceive the position of our joint without the aid of vision or in other words, being able to feel where our joints should be in relation to the activity we are performing.

Perform one set of this routine (takes about 5 minutes) This is a great routine to do immediately after your run. Follow along with Jennifer and I below until you memorize the routine.

Option #2: Sand Routine – This routine develops strength and proprioception in our feet and lower leg muscles. You will see this routine pop up in many of the injury treatment programs listed above. It is also quick, taking about 5 minutes or less per set.

Perform two sets of this routine and build to four sets over the next 3-6 weeks.

Sabre Warm Up Routine: This dynamic warm up routine prepares our body to run by increasing our heart rate and our muscle temperature. Perform 1 set of this routine (about 10 minutes).

Speed Work: Ladder Workout

Unless otherwise given instructions by your running coach, you will be performing the Ladder again this week! We did this workout last week and this week we will improve upon it. Remember a while ago I talked about the RRCA training philosophy IIP (Introduce, Improve, Perfect!) This week we are improving! Before you start this workout, take a look at what you accomplished last week and let’s do it better this week!

Did you start out too fast and lose steam before the end? Skip the warm up drills or strides causing your hips and legs to be too stiff to perform their best? Not plan enough time for a good warm up? All of these factors can lead to a performance that is less than ideal. Now is the time to think about those mistakes and fix them!

If you are training for a 5K or 10K:

  • Warm up – 1-2 miles
  • Sabre Warm Up
  • Strides
  • Ladder – 400M (.25) + 800M (.5) + 1200m (.75) + 1200M (.75) + 800M (.5)
    + 400M (.25) = 2.5 miles total
  • Cool Down – 1-2 miles

If you are training for a Half or Full Marathon:

  • Warm Up – 2 miles
  • Sabre Warm Up
  • Strides
  • Ladder – 800M (.5) + 1200M (.75) + 1600M (1 mile) + 1600M (1 mile) + 1200M (.75)
    + 800M (.5) = 4.5 miles total
  • Cool Down – 1-2 miles

*Take a :90 rest between each segment
*Pacing – You should be running faster than 5K pace for this workout! Start a little slower then speed up as you go with the last segments the fastest! If you warm up properly, do your drills, then some strides you will be ready! Breathe and run fast!  

Whew…that’s a lot of info! I know it is a lot to digest so my suggestion is to take it in pieces. Read through it then make a plan for how you will go through each part this week. As always, here if you have questions or concerns!

When the workouts and the information gets overwhelming, remember that strength and healthy living is a process. If we can make small changes that stick, we are working towards our overall strength which is beneficial in our daily lives. Strength goes so far beyond running…so just take a deep breathe and remind yourself….

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