2016 Prep & Pump Recap

preppumpAustin runners packed the house on Friday night for our third annual Austin Marathon & Half Marathon Prep & Pump and came away with a toolkit of mental tricks from coach Amy Anderson, rock solid race strategy from coach Chris McClung and words of wisdom from coach Steve Sisson. Though we cannot recreate the magic after the fact, we can share notes and, perhaps most importantly, the course breakdown. If you missed out or simply want a refresher, you can find the slides from the event here:

Austin Marathon & Half Marathon Prep & Pump Recap

Austin Marathon Pace Chart

Thanks to all who came out, and best of luck to everyone this weekend – we’ll see you out there!

10 Reasons to Go Rogue for Chicago 2016

by Chris MacLeod

These days, it’s virtually impossible to pick a marathon everyone can agree on. San Antonio is too hot, Boston is too exclusive, Canada is too friendly…we’ve heard it all! And we’re sure you can think of reasons why Chicago is not “the best” choice for Rogue’s 2016 Fall Marathon. Allow us to present our reasons why it absolutely 100% is!

  1. Get the PR without the passport. After four trips to Vancouver and one to Toronto, we really do love Canada. But…it’s freaking expensive to get there! (Who else had to shell out $80 at that Express Passport place on Rio Grande?) Not only does Chicago have a famously flat, PR-friendly course, it also has the highly attractive feature of being situated in the Continental US. AND, Chicago has not one but two international airports! Direct flights FTW!
  2. You won’t have to twist arms to get your support crew on board. Yeah, we all think it would be awesome finish a marathon on Hayward Field. But do you know any non-runner who’s heard of Eugene, Oregon? (And no, it doesn’t count if you forced everyone to watch Pre at the last family movie night.) Chicago is a city you would totally plan a trip to without the excuse of a marathon. Historic sites, loads of museums, pro teams in all five* major sports…pack up the kids, we’re headed to the Windy City!
  3. You can Über everywhere. Or you can roll like a true Chicagoan on the CTA. Seriously, Chicago might just be the most navigable city in the US, and there is zero need for a car. The El train is not only historically interesting, it will also get you from Midway Airport to Downtown for 6 bucks!
  4. You hate hills. Chicago has one hill. ONE. It’s practically a speed bump. Running up 45th street during 3M is 10 times harder than Chicago’s one teeny-weeny little hill.
  5. The half marathoners won’t eat all the bananas. Because there IS no half in Chicago! Everyone who’s in it is IN IT. And that is freaking inspiring!
  6. No one’s suing Chicago over their lottery. Yeah, lotteries suck. Two guys in Utah are so mad over New York’s lottery that they’re suing! Alas, lotteries are a fact of life for major marathons. Still, Chicago isn’t as bad as it could be. In 2015, NYC only let in 18% of its lottery pool. Chicago let in 53%. That’s 1 in 2 odds! And on the off chance your friends get in and you don’t, there are loads of wonderful charities who will give you a number in exchange for a little fundraising. Or you can run sub-3:15/3:45 to qualify on time. We promise, it’s really not that hard to get in to Chicago!
  7. For the perfect first-timer experience. Crowd support, crowd support, crowd support! No matter how slow you think you are, you will never be alone on the Chicago Marathon course. And you won’t be kicked off it either. At 6 hours and 30 minutes, Chicago has one of the most generous time limits in the business. (And they’ll let you finish on the sidewalks if you can’t make that.)
  8. No out-and-backs!
  9. To experience the best logistics in marathoning. Race director Carey Pinkowski has been doing this job for 26 years. The course hasn’t changed in 10 years. The expo is staffed by thousands, the corrals run smoothly, and there are TWENTY aid stations. Chicago organizers have this stuff figured out.
  10. Ain’t no party like a Rogue party! If you’ve never been on a Rogue trip, you really don’t know what you’re missing. Nothing can compare to taking on the challenge of the marathon with all the people you laughed, cried, and sweat with over five months of training. And if that’s not enough for you, Steve Sisson, aka “The Original Rogue”, aka the reason the Rogue Fuel Bar has the best craft beer selection on 5th street, is leading this whole shebang. It will be an epic run, and it will be an EPIC party!

Chicago 2016. Training starts April 30. Be there. #JFR

* Wikipedia includes soccer as the 5th major American professional team sport.

Racing with Rogue in the Year of Fast

by Chris McClung

A few weeks ago, I wrote this blog about the Year of Fast. As the writer, I imagined you reading it and, so fired up by the words, threw your hands in the air and screamed “I’m in!!” to no one in particular, perhaps while sitting at home alone or, even more awkwardly, in a coffee shop full of people. A guy can dream, right?

Whether you reacted that way or not, I hope you committed to challenging yourself with speed in 2016 to see if, with the right amount of work and commitment, you can take down personal records on your way to your fastest year yet.

In our February newsletter, you will read about lots of training programs that will provide the path to faster times ahead. Here are some other ways to celebrate the year of fast!


Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 11.26.39 AM1. Race the Capitol 10,000 on April 10th and join our Cap10K team.

This is an iconic Austin race, and we always have a great turnout for it. The race will set-up a team tent for us at the finish line area once we reach a certain number of participants, so we can celebrate and party as a group post-race. Plus, as a team, they will deliver all of our packets to Rogue, so you don’t have to brave the packet pick-up lines. If you haven’t already registered yet, go to this link:


Then, click on “Team Challenge” at the top of the registration page and choose “Rogue Running” as your team. This signs you up for our team and also gives you individual registration.

If you are already registered, you can still add yourself to our team. To do so:

  1. Go to “Edit your registration” from your confirmation email or the site directly.
  2. Enter “JoinATeam” into the “invitation code” – hit apply (do not hit “make the change”)
  3. Select Team-Challenge and choose Rogue Running.


Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 11.26.57 AM2. Race the Daisy 5K on May 28th.

This one will be like a Spring version of the Zilker Relays with plenty of Rogues partying both during and after the race. In it’s 39th year, the Daisy 5K is the oldest in Austin and will be held on Memorial Day weekend this year at Camp Mabry. In addition to sponsoring the race, we are encouraging all Rogues to participate as a part of their training cycle, whether near the end of Spring 5K/10K training block or starting to gear up for fall races.

Regardless of your focus, we will be bringing speed development workouts into every Rogue program during this time as a way to balance the demands and requirements of half marathon and full marathon training. Check out this great article from Greg McMillan on the topic.

You can sign up for the Daisy 5K here and use the coupon codes below for discounted entry:

rogueDaisy16 = $3 off 5K entry

rogueDaisy16kids = $2 off Kids K entry



Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 11.30.21 AM3. Start a Running Club in your neighborhood.

In partnership with Marathon Kids and Austin Runners Club, we are looking for individual athletes who would like to coach of group of kids and adults to their first 5K (or Kids K) at Daisy via a neighborhood running club.

We know that Rogue can sometimes seem intimidating for new athletes, so working with the Marathon Kids Running Club curriculum, we’ve found a safe and encouraging way to help people get started, but we need your help.

If you are interested in starting a club in your neighborhood, email chris@roguerunning.com and plan to join us for an info session at Rogue on March 3rd at 6:30 pm.

You can find more details here.


12274495_1215671458478182_7220714263850107808_nChris McClung heads up all things Rogue and coaches The Morning Show, a group for half marathoners and marathoners alike.






2016: The Year of Fast


by Chris McClung

It’s January 18th. It’s the day after the Houston Marathon, and I sit here more inspired than ever to be a runner and coach in this family we call Rogue. I couldn’t think of a better way to start 2016.

Yesterday, I spent the first half of my day glued to this computer, obsessively checking the results of friends and athletes in this community. The Houston Marathon app was pretty amazing, but the darn thing only allowed you to track 20 runners at once. Don’t they know that when we descend on a race, we come in groups of 50 or more?!?

In the wake of recent IAAF doping and corruption scandals, I have more or less discarded my trust in the sport at the highest levels. But, I have not lost all faith because the inspiration I find in athletes throughout the pack is greater now than perhaps ever before. That was on display in HD sharpness yesterday as the performances and stories came rolling in.

12553093_10207256741089719_2041494438056456915_nThere is the story of Steve Chase. Steve is 47. He ran his first marathon in 2010 in 4 hours and 36 minutes. The following year he joined Rogue and began training with Carolyn’s group in north Austin, the Northside Runaways. If you know Steve, he is nothing if not detailed-oriented, and few work harder at this sport than he does. With a steady progression in the last 5 years, he now trains with Jeff Knight’s Team Rogue group and regularly logs 100-mile weeks in the midst of working a full-time job. Steve finished Houston in two hours and 44 minutes yesterday, nearly 2 full hours faster than his first marathon. That result is impressive, but it’s no accident. It’s the product of thousands of miles of hard work and a singular focus that would make any elite athlete jealous. Congrats to you Steve. You are an inspiration because you aren’t afraid to set big goals and then leave no detail unattended in the work to achieve them.


1511783_10153762391400034_1459414190_nThere is the story of Tina Bizaca. She is 25. She ran her first marathon in 4 hours in 2013, but after her second marathon in Austin in 2014, she battled injuries that would cause her to take time nearly a year away from races. In all of the down time, Tina never gave up or lost her smile. She diligently did the physical therapy needed to strengthen her body and better prepare it for the work required to do this sport. In October 2015, she ran a personal best marathon in Toronto, running 3 hours and 38 minutes. When she told me as her coach that she wanted to follow that result with the marathon in Houston, I told her it was an ambitious plan. It’s hard mentally and physically to run two big marathons with only 3 months in between. Doing it successfully required patience in recovery from Toronto and then restraint in a modified build-up to Houston. She followed the plan diligently and then executed a perfectly paced race in Houston to record a new PR and her first Boston qualifier in 3 hours and 30 minutes, running the second half of the race 4 minutes faster than the first. Congrats to you Tina. You are an inspiration because you stayed positive in the face of adversity and committed to do the little things when no one is watching that separate those who qualify for Boston from those who just talk about it.

12009720_10153140440664849_5439696862510511140_nThere is the story of Lori Brown. She is 56 and ran a personal best for the marathon yesterday in 4 hours and 37 minutes, beating her previous best from 15 years ago. Lori worked harder than ever in this training cycle and started the race perfectly on her planned pace. An old foot injury re-surfaced during the race, which caused her pace to slow, and her PR attempt to be in doubt. As the pain increased, she met two teammates at mile 22 who would run the final 4 miles with her. Working together with her teammates, she fought through the pain and even increased her pace in the final 2 kilometers to earn a PR by 2 minutes. Lori had nothing to prove to anyone, and a lesser athlete might have given in to the pain and either slowed dramatically or walked off the course. Lori did not and could not. She is one of the toughest and hardest working athletes I have ever coached. Congrats to you Lori. You are an inspiration for not giving up on achieving your fastest race when others surely would let age or pain beat them down.

I could tell 30 other stories like that from yesterday in addition to countless more from teammates and coaches who didn’t run but rather cheered and paced their friends and teammates on the course. The day was certainly magical, but there is no magic formula. Trust the plan. Do the work. Do it together. Big things will come. Simple, right?

It’s simple until the alarm clock goes off when it’s 32 degrees outside or the injuries come or fear sets in the night before a race. Our achievements are the sum total of a thousand decisions, starting with a single choice to reach for something we have never done before, to strive to cover an arbitrary distance faster than ever. Most don’t make the initial decision to strive for something big, often under the guise of what might be considered reasonable excuses – “I just want to have fun” or “I’m too busy” or “My body can’t handle the training.” Is that truth talking or is it the fear of what might happen when things get hard or when failure comes?

Within Rogue, we sometimes shy away from using the word “fast” too much so as not to alienate some who would call us “elite” or “exclusive.” I like to say there is no “slow” within Rogue, only degrees of fast. If you train with us, regardless of your pace, you do so because you aren’t satisfied with the status quo. You want more for yourself. You want to test your limits and find out how far and how fast you can go.

2016 is a year in which we will embrace that pursuit more than ever. You will see this come to life in a variety of ways as the year progresses. For example, we have planned a speed development block of training for all of our groups this spring (from TeamRogue to Fall Marathon to 5K/10K PR) that will lead up to the Daisy 5K on May 28. Why? Because you cannot be your best in the longer distances until you develop your speed at the shorter distances as well. Besides, we have seen what happens when a group of us focuses on a single race. What might be possible when the entire Rogue community is singularly focused on the oldest running 5K in Austin? Stay tuned – those details will come.

So, what will you choose in 2016? Will you set aside your fears like Steve and Tina and Lori and strive for your fastest year yet? I know my answer.


12274495_1215671458478182_7220714263850107808_nChris McClung heads up all things Rogue and coaches The Morning Show, a group for half marathoners and marathoners alike.


Rogue’s Spring Marathon Pick: Chasing the new with the tried-and-true


by Allison Macsas

Springtime. It’s all about the new. A new season, new life, fresh starts, big goals! So, it’s in this spirit that we have chosen the Vancouver Marathon & Half Marathon as the spring destination race for Rogues in 2016.

But wait. Haven’t we gone to Vancouver en masse before? What about this whole new theme?

Well, you’ve got a point. Rogue runners have descended upon this race before, specifically in 2012 and again in 2014, so no, the event itself is nothing new. And when you add in several years of SeaWheeze Half Marathon attendance as well, the location itself is definitely nothing new.

10305334_10152233618963666_4632822413701579075_nBut, here’s the thing. Vancouver is tried and true when it comes to the one new thing that we all care about: NEW PRs!! The weather is nearly always brilliant.* The half marathon is blazing fast and the marathon, despite a rather challenging last bit around the seawall**, also delivers consistently fast finishes. Both races are incredibly scenic, and the city happens to be at its blue-skied, flowery best in May. With 5000 marathoners and 10000 half marathoners, the field is the perfect size – big enough to generate that magical race day energy and to draw lots of spectators, but small enough that you’re actually able to do what you came to do – RUN.

228618_657908089998_5356123_nOf course, the event is just part of the draw. We all know that the post-race festivities are just as important as the race itself (and let’s be honest… usually a lot more enjoyable too!). The city is packed with every type of food, drink and venue imaginable, all of which you can walk (I promise, it’ll help with recovery!) to. You can stay afterward and enjoy one of the most beautiful areas in North America: take the ferry, go to Whistler, visit the suspension bridge, explore the redwood forests, eat as much sushi*** as you possibly can.

Flights from Austin are reliably affordable, and while hotels near the race can be a bit spend-y, there is no need for a car rental or a taxi – the light rail will take you straight from the airport to wherever you need to go for a few dollars. Better yet, join up with your running friends and find a cool place to rent on airbnb – there are a zillion options, many of which are more affordable, more comfortable and a heck of a lot more memorable than a hotel room. Plus, you can get the inside scoop from some locals that way.

10176147_10152235417568666_6132313691518639592_nIn 2014 it put a huge smile on my face to hear the race announcer comment, as yet another Rogue crossed the finish line, “Wow! Another Austin runner!” and I’d love to see our crew show up in an even BIGGER way next spring. I’ll personally head to Vancouver in May for the fifth time, and while the neither event nor the destination will be anything new, I believe that it’s the perfect recipe for exactly I want – a fifth shiny new PR.

Ready? The race date is May 1, 2016 and you can register here. Then, get ready to train like you’ve never trained before (in kilometers!). We kick off on December 1sign up here.

*”Brilliant” is defined by me as a temperature between 38-48 degrees and dry conditions on the starting line. In 2014 it was wet and “miserable” was perhaps a better term, but everyone still ran fast, soooo…

**It’s beautiful, but quiet and lonely on the seawall. But even if there were crowds, it’s the last 10K…it’s gonna hurt. Prepare your mantras in advance.

***And pho and ramen and everything else


AAEAAQAAAAAAAAMBAAAAJGZhZmVmYWVlLWUxODQtNGI3OS1iMmNhLTM1NmUxNjM3OWY0NwAllison has worn many hats at Rogue over the years, from graphic designer and marketing director to coach and co-founder of Rogue Expeditions. She spends most of her time globetrotting between RE trips these days, but always makes sure to leave the Vancouver race weekend open.

Riff Raff in Portland

by Phil “Panther” Carmical, coach of Rogue Riff Raff

–Sparkles (Emily McCoy) ran a blistering 3:04 marathon to capture 8th overall woman and PR by 9 minutes! In a big marathon like Portland, this is not an easy feat. She is a huge talent, with a natural ability and a very bright future in the world of running! I am very proud of her and her accomplishment, and I’m very happy that she’s found a home with us in Riff Raff.

–But let’s not forget “Mr. Sparkles,” (Justin McCoy), who ran a 3:45 in his first ever marathon. Justin followed his training plan to a T, and it was a pleasure to watch him transform this past season from someone who runs occasionally into a true marathoner who has a very bright future as a runner. It’s very satisfying as a coach to watch someone follow your training and accomplish great things like that. 

–Peaches (Stephanie Thompson) had everything going against her. She has been sick for a couple of months, now, from gastroenteritis to other ailments, and she missed a huge chunk of her training. We talked just weeks before the race about how she needed to change her expectations for this race, but I have to say that I am more impressed with her than ever before. There’s one thing you can’t count her out on, and that’s HEART. She has tons and tons of heart, and that’s something you can’t measure with a clock. Peaches has many PRs in her future, and I’m proud that she gutted it out today and ran the full marathon, even though she wasn’t anywhere near being fully prepared. She will be for the next one.

–I think it’s safe to say that Cakes (Lee Christy) it into our little run group from day one. I knew that she was one of us, and I am very proud of her performance in her very first marathon. I hope that there are many more, as a Riff Raffer, and I think that Cakes has a wonderful future. I’m really happy that she has joined our little band, and Tuesdays are always better when she’s there.  Like Justin, Cakes followed my plan to a T, and she is now a marathoner!

–Clairsonic (Sean Anderson) ran the half, and, although he didn’t do as well as he had hoped, he said that this experience made him want to re-commit himself to running harder and train for a 4-hour marathon. He will run a 4-hour marathon, sooner rather than later. 

–Finally, (Suellen Adams) ran the half with Glenda Adams as well and I have to say that we all still think of you two as Riff Raff. Thanks for representing with us!  Riff Raff for life!

Finally, thanks to everyone else who supported the runners and sent me texts and reports throughout the trip. I wish I had been there with you all, and it looked like you had a great time. Often, we forget how difficult it is to travel across the country to support friends in a race when we’re not racing ourselves. It’s a selfless, wonderful act, and it’s what we’re all about here in Riff Raff.  Congratulations, everyone!

Goodbye Rogue, Community that I Love.

By Jeff Knight

I remember the day well: July 20th 2006. I was sitting in a small dormitory in Wilmington DE, where I lived for the summer, watching the Tour de France. Stage 17 was a critical day. An epic day really.

Stage 16 was highlighted by a ridiculous blow-up on the part of Floyd Landis, the American hopeful for the GC at the Tour that year (GC = yellow jersey). Stage 17 was difference. On a nasty day with 5 huge climbs, Landis made a ridiculous breakaway with 120K to go. Practically motoring up the hills, Landis made back nearly 7 minutes on the day to catapult himself back into 3rd place overall.

Needless to say, I was motivated.

Unfortunately, (comically, maybe) we now know that performance was pharmacologically aided. At the time though, it didn’t matter, I was motivated.

At that time in Delaware, I was a bit overweight and definitely consuming more beers than miles ran but, for whatever reason, that day reignited a fire that took me to the place I am now in.


I grew up running. I never ran collegiately or anything like that but running is in my blood. My mother was a collegiate runner back in the 80s, and she instilled the routine early in my childhood. I ran my first 5k at 8-or-so-years-old. I ran track and cross-country in HS but my motivation for running wasn’t right. I left high school swearing I’d never run again.

And I didn’t….for a while at least.

For whatever reason, that Tour de France experience made something click. Had I had a bike at that time, I probably would’ve done that but whether it was fate or coincidence, I only had running shoes. So running is what I did.

Fast-forward a few years, a few half marathons and a few marathons; I had a serendipitous meeting with, one, Steve Sisson at the Barton Springs Trail Head of the Greenbelt. I knew of Steve from a Statesman article describing the then nascent Rogue Athletic Club’s pursuit of a USATF grant. We chatted for a bit, I wished him luck and then went for my run.

At that point in time I was already fascinated with exercise physiology. While I was a classically trained biochemist, I became fond of human performance research. I grew so fond of it that I finished up a master’s in biochemistry to pursue graduate work in exercise physiology, specifically performance.

In parallel to that pursuit of exercise physiology, I had begun to think about coaching. I worked as a teaching assistant throughout my undergraduate and graduate career. I liked teaching and to me, coaching was really an extension of that. Teaching a subject people wanted to learn.

Naturally, I cold-emailed Steve after our Greenbelt meeting. I reached out about a position as a volunteer assistant at UT, where I knew he coached at the time. While I had no coaching experience or collegiate running experience (two veritable prerequisites for college coaching), I sold myself as a budding coach with a love of teaching and strong knowledge of running physiology.

He politely (kind of) told me I could not coach with him at UT. It was a one-sentence email.

He did, however, tell me about a position with Rogue AC as an assistant coach. Clearly I had no choice. I had to take it.

Door opened.

That was February of 2010. Fast forward to 2015, I can authentically say the last 5 years have been some of the most amazing of my life. In that time frame I coached Rogue AC, helped start Marathon High, acted as training manager for Rogue Downtown and, eventually, lead me to act as the Training Director of Rogue Running. More importantly, I made incredible relationships during that time.

An End

As those 5 years have passed, I find myself entering a new phase in my life. A phase that would never had been entered had I not had the last 5 years. Friday, August 21st 2015 is my final day to act as Training Director for Rogue Running. While I will continue to serve as a Downtown Team Rogue coach, I will no longer act as a “the person that forces everyone to run up way too many hills on a Saturday morning.” Steve and Carolyn will take over Downtown training with help from Jen Harney, our CP Training Manager.

It is not clear what new role I will enter, but it is clear that I need to enter that role. I feel compelled to seek new challenges and new opportunities professionally. That decision, though, was not easy. I really love and have loved my job(s) with Rogue.

I am eternally grateful to Steve Sisson and Ruth England for giving me an opportunity to coach when I had no business coaching. I loved my time learning to coach Team Rogue with John Schrup; which inevitably lead me to realize my love for coaching adult runners. I’ve loved my time spent with Chris McClung, Carolyn Mangold and, most recently, Jen Harney as we’ve tried to figure out how keep Rogue doing amazing things. I am grateful for the time spent with Allison Macsas bouncing around marketing ideas, graphics and rolling t-shirts for the Austin Marathon expo. I am grateful for…. wow…. so many more. I’ve had the honor of working with so many amazing people over the years that there is no way I can cover them all here.

But, most of all, I’ve loved this community. Whether its our community coaches – who have a billion other things to do in their “real lives”, yet find the time to encourage and motivate others – or our community in general, that love runs deep. Nothing quite beats seeing the beaming smiles on a Saturday morning after the first 10-mile long run. Or the joy that comes from meeting a goal; whether that goal was a time goal, completing all of the Marathon Majors or, simply running a first 5k.

“But, most of all, I’ve loved this community.”

The craziest thing to me about this experience was it seemed like the more I put into Rogue, the more I got out. It’s true. I love hills and I am a bit of a masochist. Yet, whenever I’ve asked the community to join me in that craziness, the community never blinked an eye. (Shhh….I wont tell…I know y’all are masochists as well)

Whenever the training intensity was increased, it was adopted with open arms. Whenever changes or improvements were made at Rogue (things that kept us all up at night), they were understood and invited. Whenever we moved from the eastside to the west side (with a lot more hills), the community moved with us.

You see, all of us working at Rogue understand that Rogue is bigger than any one person. Rogue is rooted in the community. So as people in leadership positions have come and gone, Rogue has continued to do what its always done: change lives through running.

For that, I feel honored to be a part of the community. I feel proud to have guided the community. And whatever life brings next, I know I will be better for the experience I have had and will continue to have with this community.

With Love,

Jeff Knight

Former Training Director, Current Team Rogue Coach, Permanent Masochist