STTC February 2019 Challenge: Stay Motivated!

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As we slide quickly from January into February it’s easy to let the goals we set for ourselves just a few shorts weeks ago get pushed to the back of our minds and the bottom of our priority list. We get busy with life and time for ourselves isn’t any easier to come by than it was last year.

Instead of getting complacent and letting our health and fitness goals be a side thought, we will stay motivated each day by making purposeful strides towards time for exercise and self care!

When I am pacing a training run or race, we often do a run/walk. We’ll run for a set amount of time then walk for a set amount of time for the entire workout. This interval is meant to give our heart, lungs and legs a short recovery, then it’s time to get moving again. The result should be a solid run where you feel good at the end.

With a run/walk it’s easy to let your walk portion slow down to a crawl. This is where a lot of people go wrong with this method. In order to be successful, each stride must be purposeful no matter if you are running or walking. Walk too slow and easy and your overall average pace will suffer. Run too slow during the during the run portion and you won’t make up the time, run too fast and you’ll out of gas before the end. Our effort during both the run and walk intervals must be purposeful!

It’s the same with our workouts! If we go hard all the time, we will burn out. But if our effort is too easy, or we slack off when we need to be staying on track, we won’t see the results we want.

For February, we are committing to being purposeful every day and staying motivated to reach our goals! Some days will be purposefully easy and restful. Others will be tough and might push us to our limits. Know in advance what your day will include and tackle the day with purpose!

Our February Strength Calendar is pretty awesome and I can’t wait to get started! Along with the killer workout month, I have also signed up for the Moms on the Run MOTRvate28 Challenge which will give me some accountability with my eating habits. My diet is all over the place so I am excited to put this together with a great month of workouts and get off those lingering holiday pounds! Learn more about the MOTRvate28 Challenge below.

MOTRvate28 Challenge

This 28 day challenge is open to EVERYONE! You do not have to be a member of Moms on the Run or go to MOTR classes to join in the fun and win prizes!

MOTRvate28 is a Moms on the Run 28 day healthy lifestyle challenge for February that includes points for cardio, strength, no sweets, eating our fruits and veggies, self care like rolling and stretching and even points for getting a good night’s sleep! Add up your points and post on the Moms on the Run National Facebook page each week and you will receive a prize pack at the end of the month!

It’s not too late. Sign up for MOTRvate28 today!

February 2019 Challenge: Stay Motivated

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Our challenge this month is to stay motivated and on track with our workouts, our eating habits and our self care. Self care will be a bigger focus this again month! I have slacked off on talking about rolling and stretching lately and that’s about to change! I really want to see y’all spending some quality time with your rollers and yoga mats. Let’s get back to stretching and rolling consistently throughout the week. Each time you post with stretching and/or rolling tag your post with #selfcare. At the end of the month, I will look up how many #selfcare tags we have and maybe even give away a prize. Hmmmm…I know I can come up with something good! 🙂

We are adding a Gym element as a bonus to our February Challenge. This is an add on but a good one! If you have access to a gym or a barbell weight set 2x per week you can add in this short routine and see some even bigger results in your strength. If you don’t have access, please don’t worry or feel like February isn’t going to be awesome because it is! Our workout calendar is very strong on its own and if you stay motivated with me this month we are all going to be feeling really great at the end of February!

Our February 2019 Challenge Calendar with the months schedule of workouts plus all the links you need for the month’s exercises and routines can be found on our Strong to the Core Members Only Page. A link to this page can be found in our “announcements” at the top of our members only Strong to the Core private Facebook page.

Strong to the Core Membership and Guidelines

As we continue to grow and add more amazing people to our #CoreCrew family, it’s important to remember that this is a strength group. Strong to the Core is about motivating each other to get stronger!

Most of us are runners, but strength is the #1 goal of our group and you don’t have to be a runner to benefit from Strong to the Core. You can walk, ride, swim…whatever makes your heart and body happy you belong here…as long as you are also working on your strength! 🙂

To keep our #CoreCrew family focused on strength this year, we are adding a couple simple STTC guidelines. You do not have to post everyday…but when you do post, it MUST include some kind of strength work. If you post, “I went for a run today” or I didn’t do anything today” but include no strength work and I see it, it will be deleted. I am adding this because lately I’ve seen too posts that only include a run or other cardio workout. Going for a run or bike ride is awesome and I love seeing you being active, but there are so many groups where we can post a run and get tons of accolades. That’s not what Strong to the Core is meant for. If you go for a run but don’t do your strength, it doesn’t “count” for STTC so don’t post it. If you go for a run then do your Standard Core workout or get in some great hip and glute work, then post away! If you got in a plank and a wall sit on an off day then post it! If you took time for yourself on an active recovery day and did one of our Yoga for Runners routines or our 7 Key stretches for Runners then post it! If you don’t do anything…don’t post that you did nothing. That is not motivating to anyone! In fact, it gives others a reason to do nothing too!

Our monthly strength calendar, workout guides and videos and self care routines are for Strong to the Core members only. If you’re not a member of Strong to the Core but know you need to add strength to stay healthy, injury free and run longer and stronger click here for info on how to join.

Strong to the Core Guidelines:

  1. Posts on private group must include strength. No Posts with Only Cardio – Post your workout only when you have done your strength work for the day. This doesn’t mean you can’t post inspiring stories or messages, races you want others to know about, or fun memes to give us a laugh. And you may post your running stats once you have completed your strength! If you got in a run but didn’t do any strength work…post it somewhere else. 🙂 If you do post with just a run or “I didn’t do anything today” I will delete it without warning and I won’t feel bad about it. 😉
  2. Always be positive and supportive – Any posts or comments that are negative or demeaning will be deleted (this rarely happens with our #CoreCrew family!)
  3. STTC Monthly Challenge Winner – In order to be considered for the monthly Challenge Winner medal, you must post consistently, be positive and supportive of other members and be making purposeful strides towards your goals. Our monthly winner is always active in our group and motivates others to reach their goals too!

Thank you for continuing to be a part of our Strong to the Core family!

Remember that when the going gets tough, the tough get tougher. If something doesn’t go your way…if you don’t hit that goal race time or you pick something up and it’s heavy….it doesn’t mean you can’t run that PR, it doesn’t mean you can’t lift it….

 It just means you need to get stronger.

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November – Week 5: What do you do for fun?

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Last week of November and getting really close to the end of 2018. Where is the year going? Are you using your time wisely or are you wasting it?

Does seeing all the awesome races with tons of #CoreCrew personal records this past weekend get you excited? Does it give you motivation to follow in their footsteps and set some a new PR or finish a race you’ve been wanting to conquer?

The only difference between those who are reaching their goals and those who aren’t…is consistency! You know you’re no different than them right? You have what it takes to reach your goals. To run longer, stronger and faster….to be healthy and feel good, to make strides towards your goals. If you’re not seeing results, you’re not being consistent. There are no excuses or “reasons” other than you’re just not doing the work.

If you’re ready to stop making excuses and start making progress then let’s get to work!

Make your plan and finish November strong!

Think about your week and take a few minutes write down when you will get your workouts done. Plan for enough time to do strength work after your run. 10-15 minutes is a great starting point. Our workouts are below with links to videos to follow along with. You can also find printable copies of each routine in our STTC group files.

Each of the workouts below (or a mix of the workouts for each important area) should be done 2-3 times each week. Make time to love on your legs and hips before you go to bed by spending a little time rolling and stretching. As you make your plan for the week, think about your goals and how these steps will help you reach them.

Bonus: In addition to the workouts above we are going to have fun with Sally this week!

Can you hang with some Sally squats EVERYDAY this week? I can! We get a lot of single leg strength in our runner specific routines but we haven’t given our quads much sole focus lately so this week we are going to give them some love! This workout takes about 3 minutes so even on your days off, pull up Sally and get to squatting! Follow along with me below (video from earlier this year) or just google Sally squats and hit play!

Daily Sally Squats means daily posting so this will be a great way to stay motivated and accountable this week. What an ideal way to end the month so we go into the last month of 2018 on track and ready to end the year strong!


Speed Work: Don’t be like Fran

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You guessed it…we’re doing 800s this week! How many you do depends on your current fitness level and your distance goals. If you are training for a half or full marathon, you’re special…you get to do 1-2 mile repeats in the middle…fun! 😉

Start with a 1-2 mile warm up, take a minute to rest, then do your warm up drills and some strides (:20 – :30 sprints with a 1:30-2:00 rest in between), then go into your 1/2 mile repeats. Interval repeats below based on distance you need.

1/2 mile repeats (800 meters) should be done at around 5K pace. Start at the top end of your 5K pace and bring it down as you go. If you go out too fast…you’ll be like Fran!

Don’t be like Fran. 

If you are training for a:

  • 5K – 4-6x 800 @ 5K pace with :90 rest
  • 10K – 6-8x 800 @ 5K pace with :90 rest
  • 15K – 8-10x 800 @ 5K pace with :90 rest
  • Half Marathon – 4 x 800 @ 5K pace (:90 rest) + 1 mile @ 10K pace (2:00 rest) + 4 x 800 @ 5K pace (:90 rest)
  • Marathon – 4 x 800 @ 5K pace (:90 rest) + Mile x 2 @ 10K pace (2:00 rest) + 4 x 800 @ 5K pace (:90 rest)

Not sure how to do these workouts or still a little nervous about throwing speed into your routine? It’s ok to be nervous but I promise you if you just give it a go you’ll find out that you can do it and you might even feel pretty badass and definitely proud when you’re done!

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November – Week 4: Plan & Commit

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Consistency is the secret sauce to being successful but in order to be consistent we must commit fully to strength as part of our everyday training.

Commit to thinking differently about strength training.

Commit to investing in yourself and your running.

Commit to doing the work.

Commit to a growth mindset.

Are you committed to growing into a healthier and stronger runner? This week we are switching up the routine just a tad. The workouts are the same but in order to complete the challenge…you must plan ahead and commit!

Week 4 Challenge:

I was taught that doing strength after a run could be detrimental because we are tired and depleted from our workout and that attempting strength when we are tired can result in bad from and possible injury. But through continued education and personal experience, I’m leaning the other way. It is always important to have good form but if we add a little strength after our run we will benefit from more calories burned AND strengthening those muscles while we’re tired forces them to work harder! Last week after our speed work, a few of the girls and I completed the Standard Core routine and I could certainly tell a difference. So…this week’s challenge…

3 strength routines AFTER 3 separate runs

These 3 routines can be any of the routines listed below in our week 4 strength outline. You can choose a different routine after each run or you can stick with one that you feel you need the most. Choose from hips/glutes, core and arms. The way to make this happen is to plan in advance. You will need a little time post run to get your strength done so planning and commitment is key this week! Our Strength routines are anywhere from 4 to about 17-20 minutes. You may have to cut your run a little short to get in your strength and that is ok! Let’s commit to consistent in our strength training AFTER our runs this week and see how different we feel!

How to Run Faster Based on Your Runner Archetype

Got an email from Jason Fitzgerald talking about the different types of runners and how our “type” affects how we train and the results we get.

The training strategy should be different for each type of runner. It makes sense that our needs are different so we should be training. Trying to put ourselves into a specific category, one that is wrong for us and who we are as a runner, could mean we aren’t seeing the results we want. Frustrating because we think we are doing everything right…then BAM injury, setbacks, or a crappy race happens and makes us wonder…what am I doing wrong?

Maybe you’re doing everything right…for someone else…

Let’s talk about these different runner “types” and see if we can find out what is best for us.

Which type of runner are you? 

The Often Injured Runner

Every few days, Jason gets a variation of this question:

“I can get to about 2 miles and then my knee starts to hurt. Should I keep trying to train for the half marathon?”

With any substantial injury, you can’t focus on injury treatment while trying to train for a race. To train well we must be healthy! The goals and approach for a healthy runner and an injured runner are very different so it’s much more effective to focus on one thing at a time.

This is why…

  • Runners focus on weight loss before we focus on training
  • We should always focus on treatment before training

This thought was explained well by performance coach Brad Stulberg:

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If you find yourself chronically injured, injury prevention must be a priority if you hope to get off the never ending injury merry-go-round.

Three of the most effective strategies for staying healthy include:

  • A 10-minute series of dynamic warm up exercises before you start running
  • Slowing down your easy runs (easy should feel easy: controlled, comfortable, and conversational)
  • A 10-20 minute sequence of runner-specific strength exercises after each run

Building athleticism, increasing strength, and reducing some stress before you start a specific training plan for a goal you want to achieve are the most effective ways to stay healthy!

The High-Achieving Runner

This is the runner that we ALL aspire to be. Healthy, running strong with no niggles or pains, and well informed about how to train effectively.

For the high-achieving runner, despite everything going well, are not entirely sure what to do next. How can you keep progressing? What more can this runner do to improve?

If you want your race times to improve, the first step is to improve your training.

You’re probably in this category if you find yourself:

  • Running well but without many Personal Bests
  • Race times have stagnated
  • You think you’re doing everything “right” but your results aren’t budging

These runners need to take the next step. Two of the most effective strategies include running higher mileage and adding some weight to your strength training.

Higher mileage is arguably the best way to improve. The benefits of high mileage are undeniable:

  • Denser mitochondria, the “energy factories” of muscle cells
  • Stronger muscles and more resilience to injuries
  • Higher capacity for work (the ultimate runner’s dream)

When you can run a lot, running faster gets a lot easier. But before you go out and increase your mileage, remember that you MUST increase slowly and safely and you MUST keep your easy runs EASY! If you increase too quickly and run too fast you WILL fall into the injured runner category very quickly. Everything takes time…don’t rush this step!

Adding weight to your strength routine is another great option for high-achieving runners who want to figure out how to run faster. The benefits include:

  • More strength, power, and global athleticism
  • Improved running economy (so you can go faster at the same effort)
  • Better ability to sprint and kick hard at the end of a race
  • Injury prevention

Since most runners don’t lift heavier weights there’s a lot of potential for improvement. If you want to start lifting heavier, start and build slowly. You can start by adding additional weight to the bodyweight exercises you already do. Do not let added weight cause your form to suffer. If you feel like you are sacrificing form, back off the weight or the repetitions and make sure you are doing it right first!

The Lost Runner

No, this doesn’t mean you go out for a run and get lost…the lost runner is the runner that struggles with consistency. They sit down on Sunday night wondering what they’re going to run this upcoming week.

Many runners are in this position. They’re just not sure if they’re doing the right thing. They ask questions like:

  • “I just want to be more consistent. How do I keep improving?”
  • “I’m not sure if I’m doing the right thing… I hate wondering what to do!”
  • “I’ve been at 2:10 in the half marathon forever. I don’t think I’ll ever go sub-2:00.”

If you’re finding tons of conflicting information, there is hope! You may need a coach, you may need a plan written down so you know in advance what you are doing each week. You can find a plan online that suits you or you can contact me and let’s talk!

Jason recommend a three-step approach for the “lost runner”:

  1. Read a running book. It doesn’t matter too much which book it is, but choose one that explains the training process.
  2. Be patient! Learning something new and developing competence takes time (often years).
  3. Find support: a coach, running partner, training group, or online community of other runners like you.

Immersing yourself in our sport is one of the most fun ways of learning more about running. You’ll also improve faster!

Strategies to Increase Your Speed 

Just like there is a hierarchy of injury prevention (see our injury prevention and treatment programs page to find out more about the most common running injuries), there’s also a hierarchy of speed development:

  • Develop fitness and strength to run consistently and build your ability to run even more
  • Learn more about running. Knowledge is a competitive advantage!
  • Focus on injury prevention to stay healthy and build momentum
  • Add weight to your strength training to improve strength and resiliency
  • Run higher overall weekly mileage
  • Run longer, faster or more frequent workouts once you have a solid distance base

Depending on where your running is at right now, you have ideas and strategies to keep progressing. Instead of implementing all of these suggestions at once, choose one and get comfortable with it first. After a few weeks, you’ll be ready to start incorporating more of these strategies.

Week 4 Strength

When it comes down to it…CONSISTENCY is still the most important aspect of our training regiment. If you haven’t mastered consistency with your strength training, please don’t try to add more milage or additional weight to your routine. Before you add miles or weight, you have to be consistent with the basics! This week’s basics are below! Have you written down your plan for the week? Do you know when you will get in each of the following workouts? If not, today is the day! Pull out your calendar, write down each of the workouts below and make a plan for when you will get them done!

Don’t forget this weeks challenge – commit to doing 3 strength routines from the list below AFTER 3 separate runs.

COMMIT. Commit to thinking differently about strength training. Commit to investing in yourself and your running. Commit to doing the work. Commit to a growth mindset.

Speed Work: Fartleks

Fartleks can be done is many different forms but the basic premise is speed play. Playing with different paces is a great way to ease into going a little faster and enjoying that rush of adrenaline that comes from increasing our heart rate and seeing the pavement fly by under our feet. This week’s workout changes depending on the distance you are training for. It also has different intervals and length depending on your current level of fitness.

If you are a beginner with speed work, training for a 5K and still working on building your mileage you don’t want to jump into an 8 mile run. I also don’t want to scare you away from speed work by giving you a big daunting workout. Instead, start with a mile warm up and go for 8 rounds of 1 minute hard effort and 1 minute easy effort. That’s 16 minutes total of going fast then going easy. Follow up with a mile cool down. This is a simple yet effective and hopefully less scary workout and one every runner can do!

If you are training for a longer distance, you really should be able to do longer speed work. The key is to go into it on the easier side and build up as you get through the workout. Finishing the workout should be the #1 goal. If you go out too fast, you won’t be able to finish…instead ease in with a pace that is a bit more comfortable, get faster as you go and finish the whole workout!

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Plan & Commit


  1. Plan out your week
  2. Commit to your strength routines with 3 immediately after a run
  3. Think about yourself as a runner. Are you the injured runner, the high-achieving yet stuck in one place runner or the lost runner? How you can use your weaknesses to overcome some of your setbacks or current lack of forward progress?

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends but don’t let overindulgence steer you off course. Enjoy your big holiday meals keeping your portions in check and plan a workout for Friday to work it all off!

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November – Week 3: The Slow Drip

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Odds are you’re here because you want to excel in your running and overall health and fintess. In today’s world of ‘overnight Instagram transformations’ there’s usually no mention of patience, consistency, hard work, dedication…we see the story of this amazing transformation from heavy to thin, from slow to fast, from doughy to rock solid and while our rational side knows it took time, we tend to forget that these transformations didn’t happen overnight.

These click bait stories cause us to make irrational decisions and marginalize ourselves, maybe even causing us to purchase the latest product or service that will speed things along and get us to our end goal faster. What goes unnoticed in a overnight success story is how hard those individuals had to work for that particular moment of glory.

Far too often, we have a tendency to quit when we don’t start to seethe results we want quickly when deep down we know that the key to our success lies in consistent hard work over a long period of time. It’s not glamorous and life gets hectic so we fall off the wagon then wonder why we are hitting our goal times or fitting into our favorite pair of jeans.

It’s no surprise that this week’s message is the same as last week, the same as the week before last, and again the same as the week before that. Consistency in doing the little things is the key to being successful in reaching our goals. In our case, a slow drip of consistent strength training and mindful eating is the key to getting stronger, running faster, reaching our target weight and smashing personal records on the road.

Consistency is King

This week we are looking at 2 tips from 101 Ways to Be a Better Runner. These tips aren’t new to us but sometimes a reminder can make the difference in making it happen.

Tip #18: Consistency, consistency, consistency!

Running well takes months and years of diligent work. Unfortunately, there’s no short-term fix or“get fast quick” plan out there. Running is a long-term sport and it takes athletes years – sometimes decades – to reach their genetic potential.

What you do today impacts what you’re able to do next week, which impacts what you can do next month, etc. Consistency is king and you’ll often get better results by adding a little bit of running and strength for a few months than trying to jump up your mileage over just a few weeks or shoving all your strength work into a few days. Small changes, made over a long period of time, will ultimately help you be a better runner.

I know it’s difficult to keep going when we don’t see results right away. Don’t give up. It takes months, sometimes even years to see big results. That thought can be daunting…but if you focus on small goals along the way, you will see changes in your body, your strength, your speed and you’re endurance. Be patient.

Tip # 78: Take naps.

I’m not recommending that you get lazy, but naps are a valuable tool in the runner’s recovery toolbox. Pro marathoner Ryan Hall calls them “business meetings” and they help him recover from the hard workouts and mileage that he puts in before his races.

Naps that are ten minutes or longer have been shown to have significant mental benefits like improved alertness, memory, and motor learning. The real napping powers come into play when you nap for 60-90 minutes.

These naps speed recovery and allow your body to rebuild from your workouts. That’s because these longer naps include slow-wave Delta sleep and REM sleep cycles, which is when your body gets flooded with Human Growth Hormone (HGH) – the best recovery aid that you could ever wish for.


You’ll probably guess that this is one of my favorite tips. I love to nap. I go to bed early, get up early and very often take naps mid-day. Most of you don’t have the option to nap as often as I do (sorry not sorry…) but you can plan to nap after really tough workouts or weekend long runs if you PLAN in advance. Make that nap part of the program so you don’t get sidelined as soon as you get home. Go ahead and work it into the schedule so your family knows that it’s an important part of the program.

November Week 3: The Slow Drip

Once again, this week we are sticking with the same workout schedule, feeding that slow drip that builds upon itself each day. I promised you a new strength routine last week, then was sidelined by a piriformis niggle that affected the entire left side of my body starting at my hip and going down my glute and into my hamstring. (It happens…as runners we will never avoid all injuries or all downtimes and in truth this was a good way to get me to take some downtime after a heavy training schedule.) PT instructed me to take a complete week of rest (from running and strength) and I have followed those instructions. I apologize that meant nothing new last week but am hopeful that I will be back to both running and strength work soon and will be working on that new routine for you. I have a follow up PT appointment today, am feeling good and am hopeful that I can return to my routine this week!

In the meantime, you have the plan. You have ways to switch it up and make it less monotonous or you can stick with the routines you know fit best into your schedule and lifestyle.

Below is the week’s outline with links to videos to follow along with. Speed work is also below. It’s Monday, so if you have’t already, it’s time to write down your plan for the week and of course…get in your Monday workout and start the week off right!

Week 3 Outline:

If you haven’t yet, you can print out pdf copies of each of these workouts to keep handy so you don’t need access to our You Tube videos. Often it is faster to use the printout, but don’t get sloppy and rush through your workout! Copies are in the files section of our Strong to the Core Facebook group.

Speed Work: Speedy Gonzales

Total of 4.75 miles with warm up, cool down and rest intervals. The workout and Garmin set up instructions are below.

This is a fun workout we’ve done before which allows us different speed for each interval. This workout requires you to think a little more about your pace in order to hit your goal times but it is a fun way to switch it up and add speed to your routine. This workout includes 2 miles (1/2 mile intervals with a quarter mile interval rest/jog in between) of speed work with the 1st and 3rd intervals at 5K pace and the 2nd and 4th intervals at 3K pace. If you aren’t sure what your 5K goal pace is, reach out to me and let’s figure it out. 3K pace will be a tad faster than 5K pace. It’s not an exact science but if you know you can run a 10 minute mile for a 5K than your 3K pace will be about :10 – :15 faster. As always, if you are looking for something more specific to your personal goals (maybe a longer distance race or more involved speed work) please check out my coaching page and let’s chat!

How will you incorporate this weeks “tips” into your routine. Consistency is the easy one…just keep doing what you are doing…or START being consistent with your workouts TODAY! Putting a nap into your schedule might be a little harder. But I bet if you plan ahead now to take a nice 30 minute snooze after your long run this weekend, you will make it happen! 🙂

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November 2018 – Week #2: Practicing Consistency in Training

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“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough. We must apply. Being willing is not enough. We must do.”

~ Leonardo Da Vinci

We know what we are supposed to do. We have proof that it works if we do it. Be honest with yourself…no need for call outs or shaming…have you been putting in the work? Do you have good intentions but don’t get around to taking action? Maybe you do some of the work now and then but just aren’t consistent? We can have all the knowledge but just don’t get around to the “doing” part of things…

In the words of Da Vinci “we must do” and “we must apply” in order to see results.

Without a doubt consistency in our training is the most important aspect of success and forward progress. Athletes that are still active well into their golden years have one thing in common: they’ve trained consistently.

Schedule time for your workouts as you would any other appointment. Don’t work them in haphazardly; put workouts on your calendar or have a set time each day. Most often athletes who work out in the morning have greater consistency than those who work out later in the day. Things will often occur throughout the day to sidetrack your workouts, and this is less likely to happen in the morning.

Each workout should have a purpose. Train smart and train consistently. This series of small things brought together is what brings the results we crave. Those results can be a successful race, running without pain, hitting a goal weight, lifting a child or doing yard work all day without needing a few days to recover.

Our strength work can impact so many aspects of our lives but in order to see that impact, we must apply the knowledge we have and be consistent in its application.

This week we are sticking with the plan and practicing consistency in our weekly routine. Outline, links, speed work and a simple contest to help us practice our consistency are below!

Contest: This week we have a simple contest to help us practice our consistency . At the end of the week post that you have completed the weekly series with the hashtags #sqoosh and #consistency. By the end of the week our workout clothes should be a pile of sweaty awesomeness! To combat all the sweat, we are giving away 2 Sqooshbands!

Each Crew member who posts that they have completed the week’s series of workouts will be entered into a drawing to win a Sqooshband! You choose the style and colors and it will be delivered from our friends at Sqoosh. Contest runs all week ending on Sunday. The order of your workouts is up to you and you can post throughout the week but only your final post with the completed series will count towards the contest.

This isn’t something that should cause you anxiety or stress. If you do the workouts you are already supposed to be doing then post and let us know you got it done you are in! One post is all is takes!

Happy consistency in training Crew!

Week #2 Outline:

Speed Work: Quarter Mile Repeats (400M)

This weeks workout is simple yet an effective way to put some faster running into your regular workouts. Quarter mile repeats are a great workout for beginners to more advanced runners who are looking to run a faster 5K, are in between training cycles or just looking to keep speed work in their routine. If you are looking for something more advanced or specific to your training, check out my coaching page and let’s chat. 🙂

A warm up and cool down is essential to this workout Crew so don’t skip them! Remember that you want to finish the whole workout so don’t go all out on the first interval and run out of gas early. Train smart and safe!

If 400M (.25 mile) times 8 is a little too scary or beyond your current fitness level, start with 4-6 sets of intervals and work your way up to more. You can take a full 2 minutes rest (stand still or walk around slowly breathing and letting your heart rate return to normal) or bring your pace to a nice easy jog.

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Let’s get settled into our routine this week and practice our consistency by getting it done  when we plan to get it done, avoiding the little excuses that get our schedule out of whack. It’s the little things Crew…don’t skip the little things!

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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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September 2018 Week #4: Patience & Variety

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Hey Crew! This week’s lesson is a little late and I apologize for the delay. But the good news is…we have no additional strength to add this week! Instead, we are sticking with our 3 begining workouts and running drills. If you are setting up your week correctly, you should already know when you will complete these workouts. Having a plan (without me telling you what to do each day) is crucial to getting to the end of the week with your strength complete.

I know it is easier for me to say do “such and such” today and “this and that” tomorrow, but my goal here is not to keep you tied to a string. My goal is to teach you the best way to get stronger and avoid injuries over your lifetime as a runner and allow you to work these principles into your own schedule so you have fewer excuses. I want to make you a smart runner. I want you to be able to make decisions that are best for your needs and your training. We are all at different places and each of us can follow this program starting where we are RIGHT NOW. But in order to do that, we need to be self reliant and able to make decisions that are best for us.

Below is a snapshot of what your week should look like. I have included a link to each workout on my You Tube page so just click the workout you need and it will take you to the video where you can follow along. I am also including PDF copies of each workout (except the arm routine which I have not put together yet) in our FB group files so you can print them out if you prefer to have a list of exercises you can cross off as you go.

September 2018 Week #4:

  1. IT Band Routine – 3 times
  2. Nike Runners World Arm Strength – 3 times
  3. Tomahawk Core Routine – 3 times
  4. Running Drills – 2 times minimum

Running Drills

  • High Knees
  • A-Skip
  • B-Skip
  • Butt-kicks
  • Butt-kicks (variation)
  • Straight-leg bounds
  • Carioca (Grapevine)

Yes this is a repeat of last week’s strength work. But remember, each week we are adding another section of the Injury Prevention for Runners training. There are steps to follow each week that we get us ready to make smart decisions about our running and other “everyday” factors that affect how we feel and how we run!

So while you are working on this week’s strength, print out our Part 2 lesson and take time to read through it. It’s a lot of info, but if you take the time and implant the action steps you WILL BENEFIT! I don’t expect you to read this right away but I do hope that you will read it. When you have, then ask questions! I am here to help you and each week we are learning a lot so let’s get some discussions going that will help each os us make smarter training decisions as we get stronger!

Part 2: Learning How to Design Better Training to Prevent Injuries and Run Stronger and Faster

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Part 1 of Strength Running’s Injury Prevention for Runner program talked about the major lifestyle factors that contribute to injuries in runners like us. Factors like sitting for prolonged time periods and wearing constrictive shoes.

Did you take the time to put the Part 1 action steps into play? Did you think about how long you are sitting or standing? Did you take a good look at your footwear when you’re not running? Did you make adjustments to avoid being in one position for long periods of time? Or think about purchasing shoes that are less constrictive for working or school or whatever you are ding when you’re not running?

Remember, no one said you can’t sit at all, just that you should change it up. Stand more, move more…even if it’s just for a few minutes. Being more aware of the positions you’re in and the shoes that you’re doing it in can make a big difference in how you feel and how you run!

Part 2 of the Injury Prevention for Runners program moves on to designing effective training programs. Fitzgerald believes that “the best way to prevent injuries is to design effective training. When your program is appropriate for you and follows best practices of sound training design, you’ll get hurt far less than someone who has no plan at all.”

The Strength Running Injury Prevention System will help provide us a framework for preventing injuries and running stronger that includes six important principles. Part 2 of the program highlights the first two principles:

  1. Patience
  2. Variety

Each is critical to the injury prevention puzzle and we’ll cover how to best apply each principle to your training. Just like Part 1, at the end of Part 2 we’ll have several Action Steps that show us the exact strategies to implement.

These first two prevention principles, patient and variety, focus on “Training Design”  or how we structure our running program. Injury prevention, which leads to stronger and faster running, is about more than doing a few strength exercises or stretching after hard workouts. This part of the program will show us how to approach scheduling our weekly mileage and how we should set up racing so we have a chance to reach our goals.

Part 2 Lesson 1: Patient Training = Smart Training

In the beginning of Part 2, Fitzgerald says,

Have you ever noticed that most car accidents happen because people are impatient?

If you’re speeding, following too closely, driving recklessly and passing illegally, or otherwise rushing to get where you’re going, your risk of getting in an accident is significantly higher than if you took your time.

This analogy is perfect for runners. People who are impatient succumb to the Three Too’s: too far, too fast, too soon.

If you’re not rushing to get in shape, you’ll never have to aggressively increase your long runs, total mileage, or the intensity of your workouts too dramatically (and you’ll avoid the same blunders I made).

Distance running is a long-term project. Any success – and certainly injury prevention – takes consistent training free of wild swings in mileage or workout intensity. Your workouts should have a gradual, progressive pattern.

Elite coach Greg McMillan tells his runners that it takes 2-3 years of consistent training to even see their potential (this is on top of eight years of high school and college running). Patience is critical; modest increases in training over a long period of time help you stay healthy and ultimately reach your goals. There are no shortcuts.

So you can understand when I get frustrated when I hear questions like:

  • Can I PR by 15 minutes in the 10k in a month?
  •  I’ve been running 10 miles a week – can I run a marathon in 12 weeks?
  • Can you help me recover from ITBS so I can run a half marathon in a month?
  • I ran a marathon in September but it sucked, so I’m running another one in six weeks.

These runners are being impatient – and their injury risk is through the roof! Sometimes we search for the easy answer. But there are no secrets to preventing injuries or getting faster.

You have to have patience and put in the hard work (which sometimes means you need to do less to stay healthy). That means being realistic about what your body can accomplish in the near future, being consistent with your strength work every day, always doing a warm-up, and running consistently without wild swings in mileage.

I have to admit: this is the LEAST sexy topic in this entire program. But it might just be the most important. If there is a secret that I’ve learned after years of healthy running (since early 2009) it’s this: consistency with mileage, workouts, and prevention efforts is just as important as the hard work itself.

After I ran 2:39 at the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon my friend Greg Strosaker (a sub-3 hour marathoner himself) told me:

Everything you’ve done since the 2008 NYC Marathon has prepared you for this day – it wasn’t one good training season, or a few key workouts, it was the full body of work and the physiological gains you developed in patiently executing it.

I like to joke that the new! sexy! easy! training tips out there are “training porn” and the real valuable coaching wisdom isn’t catchy enough to resonate with runners.

THREE YEARS! Three years Jason prepared for one marathon. Three years of hard work and training for one goal race. I know we are not elite runners and will probably (most likely) never run a 2:39 marathon, but this type of patience crosses over into our training as well. This doesn’t mean we can’t run other races. It doesn’t mean we can only run one marathon a year, or even every 3 years. It means that a goal race doesn’t have to be 12-16 weeks away, that we don’t even need a goal race each year. It means that running our goal race (our true ultimate goal race) might take longer than we think.

For me, this is my Boston Qualifying race. I am not there yet. I’m getting closer…every long run, every speed work session, every strength workout gets me closer to my goal. I am being patient and chipping away at the 3:40 marathon time I now need to qualify for Boston. It won’t be this year. It probably won’t even be next year. But one day, IF I continue to work hard and make smart training decisions, one day I will cross the finish line of a marathon will my golden ticket to Boston. In a way, it’s kinda cool that this won’t happen overnight because part of the excitement is putting in the work to get there. Part of the fun is all the training with my best running friends. Part of the joy is in the little successes along the way. I want to be a runner for life so as long as I can stay injury free and keep running, one day I will get there!

The Patience Protocol

To help us implement more patience in our running and to avoid the “Three Too’s” (too far, too fast, too soon),  Strength Running gives us — the Patience Protocol.

The Patience Protocol has three rules for us to follow:

  • Know your baseline mileage. This is the level that you’re comfortable at but don’t struggle to reach each week. Every runner has a “baseline mileage” that they’re comfortable running but it’s different for each person. Look over the last 4-6 months of your training. What’s your “mileage baseline” where you feel comfortable? This is your starting point. Most of your training cycles should start slightly under your baseline mileage. Then you can add about 5-10% more mileage every other week. If you’re looking at a marathon or half marathon soon, but can’t increase your mileage and long run according to this rule in time, then you’re not ready to train and run that race. It doesn’t mean you can’t safely run the race, you just can’t race it and expect the best outcome. You need to pick a goal race that is farther into the future.A detailed example of what a “baseline mileage” should look like is what Jason likes to call “The Goldilock’s Principle” – it’s mileage that’s just right for you. This is important because sometimes we are very envious of what someone else is doing. Maybe they are starting with a higher weekly baseline. Maybe they are doing more speed work. But if we look to someone else to find our baseline mileage, we are putting ourselves at HUGE risk for injury and burnout. Eventually, we want to have some long runs and weeks of mileage that are pushing our boundary higher, but we have to know what OUR baseline is in order to get started in the right place. Here’s how the Goldilocks Principle looks in graph form:Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 5.41.25 AM
  • Use “Adaptation Weeks.” – We should repeat a week of mileage, long runs, and workouts for most weeks in your training plan. This allows our body to absorb the training, get stronger, and adapt to the higher workload. It also helps limits your risk of injury. This plays right in hand with the IIP principle I learned in my RRCA Running Coach training. IIP = Introduce, Improve, Perfect. We introduce a new workout or high mileage week, then we improve upon that by repeating it, then we perfect it! Only then can we move on to a new or different workout. After a tough workout, we experience a certain level of fatigue and muscle damage. We’re actually in worse shape after the workout. But when we rest and allow ourself to recover from that workout, we adapt to it and get stronger. An Adaptation Week allows this recovery. Adaption Weeks are a general guideline. We don’t have to repeat everything every single week. But new tough workouts should be repeated so we are allowing our body to get used to that training before we move on to something else.
  • When in Doubt, Sit it Out. If you’re not sure whether a workout is too difficult, a race is too soon from your last one, or a particular long run increase is too aggressive, then it probably is.Every change to our training is a new stress: an extra interval at the track, mile on your long run, or 5% bump in weekly mileage. If you’re increasing all of these things, be cautious and reduce any workout where you feel you’re pushing yourself too far or fast.

There are no “magic workouts” or “perfect mileage levels” that will bring glory and PR’s if you run “X” number of intervals or miles per week.

  1. Increase your volume gradually
  2. Be more cautious when you’re above your mileage baseline
  3. Be careful when you’re increasing more than one training stress.

A good training plan uses these rules to guide mileage, workout progressions, and long runs in SMART way. If you follow a plan that’s appropriate for you and stay patient, you’ll never succumb to the “Three Too’s!”

Part 2 Lesson 2: Variety: Repetitive Running = Risky Running

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After years of helping runners design better training, Fitzgerald noticed a consistent trend among the majority of people: their training is boring!

We tend to run the same races, train in the same shoes, on the same routes, doing the same workouts month after month (often year after year).

Jason thought, “It’s no wonder so many runners are stuck in a rut or always dealing with chronic injuries.”

They are called repetitive stress injuries for a reason, because they are caused by repeating the same stress over and over again.

We can’t change the fact that, as runners, we’re going to be running over and over again most days of the week, but adding variety in how we train is crucial. It forms one of the training pillars that influence his own personal racing plans. Each week Jason typically has at least four different paces that he runs and that he prescribes to this runners. He also has over 50 different exercises to help prevent injuries and help runners get faster.

More importantly, when I plan long-term I suggest runners focus on different types of races. Have you met the “two marathons a year” person who only runs marathons and seems to have one speed? They tend to run all of their marathons around the same pace. They do the same thing year in and year out with no variety and then they expect different results…

This type of runner rarely see any improvement and always seem to be in a rut with consistent overuse injuries. Variety is a great way to avoid this rut AND reduce repetitive stress injuries!

Having a lot of variety in your training doesn’t mean that you should run random distances and workouts. Every training plan should follow a logical progression and the weekly workouts should be similar from week to week. The overall structure should be fairly rigid. Without this structure, your fitness won’t progress but there are ways to add variety into the same “fairly rigid” training structure to keep us from suffering from repetitive use stress injuries.

Here’s a general outline of how progression works:

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The real variety in our training comes in the details:

  • Terrain/Surface – hilly, flat, uneven trail, cinder path, dirt road, snow, asphalt, grass, etc.
  • Running many different paces every week from very easy jogging to sprinting
  • Including a wide variety of flexibility and strength exercises
  • Rotating several different types of shoes (and maybe doing some barefoot work after an easy or long run)

Elite coach Brad Hudson calls these “little wrinkles” that are purposefully built into any good training program. They help you stay mentally focused and reduce the repetitive nature of running so you’re not constantly subjecting your legs to the same type of running (read: you’ll reduce your injury rate!).

After you’ve incorporated these mini or “micro-variations” into your plan, you can focus on larger or “macro” variations:

  • Race selection – 5k, half marathon, ultra, 10k trail race, marathon, triathlon
  • Overall training approach: high volume vs. low volume, weight sessions vs. none, cross-training vs. none, high intensity vs. low intensity

Choosing to race only 5Ks or only marathons limits the type of training that we can do. We’re stuck doing marathon workouts in a typically high volume training plan, only varying the details. Does it make sense that this might increase our chance of a running injury if we train for the same type of races every year? Doing almost the same workouts, mileage, and overall training year after year results in repetitive use injuries….

Jason Fitzgerald said,

“Variety is the spice of life – and it’s the spice of running. You’ll see this in almost all top runners’ schedules: their races vary significantly – and therefore their training approach.

This topic of injury prevention is a little “softer” than others like running form and runner-specific strength exercises. But after helping thousands of runners train smarter (including myself), I don’t think any runner can reach their potential if they don’t have a varied program.”

Change can be hard. Designing a training plan to fit our personal needs is hard too. But smart changes and variety are critical for injury prevention!

Part 2 Action Steps 

Time for homework! 🙂

This week lessons tackle very big picture training themes like patience and variations, as well as very small training adjustments like shoe choice, running surface, and weekly running paces.

Some of our action steps will be ideas to keep in mind for later use. And some will be changes you can incorporate immediately.

Step 1: Take a few minutes and think about two specific instances in your running when you were wildly impatient. Here are a few examples:

  • Maybe you increased your mileage way too quickly
  • Or you had a sharp pain but tried to run through it
  • Or you tried running too many fast workouts in one week

Now think about your future running as objectively as possible. Will you be able to be see yourself making the same mistakes again? Learning from our past mistakes and exercising patience before it’s too late is a critical part of staying injury free and being able to continue to do what we love.

In this weekly post, comment with 2 examples of mistakes that you could make in the future, but commit not to making. When you’re faced with a decision later on, you can refer back to your examples and encourage yourself to stay patient!

Step 2: Implement two mini or “micro-variations” into your training on a regular basis that you aren’t doing right now, like:

    • Once a week run a hillier route instead of always sticking to flat terrain


  • Run trails instead of only on sidewalks or the roads (if you don’t have a trail near you, explore a large network of fields that are typically near high schools or baseball fields)
  • Order a new pair of shoes and rotate two different models throughout the week
  • Run at least three different paces throughout the week to stress your body in a variety of ways

Step 3: Think long-term and implement one larger or “macro-variation” into your training. Maybe you train specifically for a 5k (much faster workouts!) if you’ve been focused on the marathon for a long time.

Or if you’ve always stuck to short road races, commit to your first 15K, half or full marathon.

Smarter training doesn’t always mean harder training! Instead, make strategic decisions that helps us run healthy and strong by introducing more variety into our routine and by avoiding the “3 Too’s” (too far, too fast, too soon)!

Whew…that was a lot of info! I hope you print this out and read through it a few different times. Read it, put it down and digest it, then come back and read it again. This is not a “quick fix” program and we are treating it that way by taking our time and putting the action steps into work.

September 2018 Week 4 Speed Work: The Extended Tempo Run

This week’s speed work is a variation of last week workout, except this week we are stretching it out and adding a little more time. Look back at your workout from last week and add 5 minutes to the tempo portion of your run. This is NOT about distance so don’t think about that. It’s about extending the length of your workout!

If you didn’t get a chance to listen to the Strength Running podcast Episode #71: A Step by Step Guide to Tempo Runs, you really should take the time to listen to it!

You can listen on iTunes here or if you are an Android user you can listen on Stitcher.

Once you listen (it’s only around 15 minutes) then you will be better prepared to run your tempo workout. If you have questions, please ask me, but if you listen to the podcast first and you will probably be ready to go.

The Workout: The Extended Tempo Run

  • 5K Workout: 1-2 mile warm up + 20 min tempo + 1-2 mile cool down
  • 10K Workout: 1-2 mile warm up + 25 min tempo + 1-2 mile cool down
  • Half Marathon Workout: 2 mile warm up + 35 min tempo + 1-2 mile cool down
  • Marathon Workout: 2 mile warm up + 45 min tempo + 2 mile cool down

As you can see, we have added 5 minutes to each distance workout. If this is your first tempo run, meaning you didn’t get it done last week SUBTRACT 5 minutes and do the original workout first! Start with 20 minutes and work your way up. Reach out to me with questions. Remember that “tempo pace” is comfortably hard. This is NOT an all out pace. You should NOT be running at top speed. If you still have questions about what that pace should be, PLEASE reach out to me and let’s chat!

That’s all for now Crew and it is a lot. Lots to consider, lots to think about and digest. Remember that this is not a “quick fix” training program. Even if you are in the middle of a plan now, you can still implement these action steps into your routine. Don’t wait…take the time to think about your goals, your current situation and how you can make small changes today that will keep you running healthy and strong for a very long time!

Because we all know that no matter how impatient we are…

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