Training tips from coach Bill Schroeder

finishkickzilkerrelays2014If you don’t use it, then you will lose it.  This applies to using your body and your mind.  It is always easier to stay in shape, than to get back into shape.  Always.  It is even truer the older you get.

I truly believe that running has given me so much more than I could ever give back to the sport.  By being fit and active I have seen so many places around the world that were only possible because I was a runner.

My mantra is “Focus Up!”  This is a mental as well as physical philosophy.  Focus Up reminds me to keep my head up (good form) and to mentally stay positive!

Running everyday keeps me healthy and injury free but it takes discipline to remind yourself that you can’t have 2 hard days in a row.  When it is an easy/recovery day then no matter how good you feel you must not run hard/fast.  I have 2 long running streaks of running at least 25 minutes every day.  The first was 13 years, 2 months, and 3 days long and my current started on Oct 16, 2011.

Running thoughts:

Some of my best workouts are ones that I almost didn’t start.

The hardest part of the workout is the first step out the door.

If every run was great then they would all be average.

The bad runs make the good ones even better.


Bill has been running since 1974 (from the 300m low hurdles to the 50K and everything in between) and coaching for 35 years! He currently coaches The Jets, a year-round group in Cedar Park that welcome runners of all levels.

Training Tips from coach James Dodds

424114_307936832597745_902211995_nConsistency trumps Intensity:

As a distance athlete it is so important you show up every day. I’d rather see you execute every quality workout a tad bit slower than planned than dominate once bad ass workout and then skip in the next three days. One workout will never “make you” but it can break you. So focus more on consistency over intensity.
Do what you said you would do:
 
In training and on race day alike, distances runners will come up against a feeling of discomfort. In that moment it isn’t a matter of “can i do it?” but “will I do it?” Those are the moments you need to do what you said you would do! It’s that simple.
Your race will look exactly like your training schedule:
 
If you are the kind of person who starts the season committed, disappears for three weeks in the middle, and then shows back up to power through the last few workouts at the end of season; then your race will probably be fun at first, tiresome in the middle, walking next, and then a sprint finish to say you did it. Conversely, those who consistently challenge themselves throughout the season tend to be the people who develop the grit to challenge themselves to new heights on race day.
Discipline breeds Discipline:
 
Training for marathons takes discipline. As you become more disciplined in your training you create a chance for discipline to spill over into other areas of your life. It won’t “just happen.” You still have to make a conscience choice in those other areas. However, the discipline of running will provide a mental framework that can be easily applied in the other important matters of life.
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James Dodds has worn just about every hat that there is to wear at Rogue over the past six years: training director, retail manager, Rogue Expeditions guide and, of course, coach. Known for his incessant smile, words of wisdom and ability to inspire just about anyone, he says that he runs for that sense of accomplishment & to enjoy adult beverages. James currently coaches the Austin Marathon and Austin Half Marathon training programs.

Featured Rogue: Dori Livingston

dori-smileIf you’ve spent any time at Rogue over the past five years, then at some point you’ve probably come across the brilliant smile of Dori Livingston. She is one of those rare people whose energy brightens the day of just about everyone she meets, and she also happens to be one of the hardest workers that we have ever had the pleasure of coaching. Dori has overcome more than a few challenges over the years, but her achievements – she’s featured in Runners World!  – have far outnumbered them. See below for a short Q and A:

When and why did you start running?

I began running in 2010 to deal the stress of my job as a State Trooper and my recent diagnosis with melanoma cancer.   My journey with cancer led me to running with friends with similar experiences. In 2011, Rick Nichols introduced me to Rogue and I joined Amy Anderson’s marathon training group. I loved the community of Rogue, and was hooked!

dori-ultraWhat has been your biggest running-related challenge, and your biggest achievement?

One of my biggest training challenges has been learning how to find a healthy balance with running, due to my cancer and other health issues that arose from it. My biggest achievement was running my first ultra, the Rocky Raccoon 50K trail race in Huntsville, Texas, earlier this year.

 

dori-runners-worldPick one defining moment.

My defining moment was being chosen as a finalist with the Runner’s World Cover Search and had my story featured in the December issue!

What’s next?

My goals right now are to heal my body (I just had shoulder surgery a few months ago), run healthy and tackle the Tahoe Triple in 2017!

I joined a running group to make friends, and instead I found a family

by Jordan Cooper

In August 2014, I decided to join a training group at Rogue Running in Austin, Texas. I had just gotten engaged to my now wife, whom I met on Tinder (which is a story for another time), and was coming to the realization that as I had grown in my relationship with her, I had lost some of the friendships I had previous to meeting her.

Although I graduated from college about a month before moving to Austin, my first four years in the Violet Crown could be viewed more as the “party” portion of my life than the four years I spent in college in my hometown in East Texas. However, most of the friendships I had made during that time were based more around going out and drinking than on something I could consider a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. As I moved down the path towards marriage, my time spent on the bar scene lessened, and I realized I needed a way to meet people that would be a little more conducive to my new, attempting-to- be adult lifestyle.

I learned about Rogue from a friend who had successfully run her first marathon while training with one of their groups. Previous to joining, I had casually trained for and successfully run a number of 10k’s and half marathons, which I did as almost a form of justification for my indulgent lifestyle. It was also somewhat meditative for me, the solitude of pounding the trails or pavement, so I was a little hesitant about running in the Texas heat with a bunch of strangers. I tried to maintain a positive attitude, especially considering I had at times in my life experienced the infamous “runners high” and figured if I could catch that sense of euphoria occasionally, that surely I could meet 1 or 2 people I might be able to bond with.

What happened over the course of the next few weeks, months, and now years is a laundry list of life lessons in connecting with people. Running in a group appealed to my competitive nature in a way I had not seen coming, and also reminded me of my past growing up playing team sports including soccer and basketball. I had not imagined a sport as considerably “solo” as running could be groomed and improved thanks to having a team or group around you, taking pleasure in your progress. I also learned that misery truly loves company, and that “embracing the suck” with fellow runners allowed me to overcome mental barriers to run distances I never could have imagined on my casual solo runs of the past. The accountability these connections provided gave me strength on those early Saturday mornings when I did not want to get out of bed to put in the work I had signed myself up for. Regardless of how I felt along the way, at the end of every one of those runs, I always felt accomplished and grateful for the kind words received from the cheerleaders around me.

Post-run stretches turned into hang outs, dinners, happy hours, holidays, and life events. I even took my turn at assistant coaching for a season. The bonds forged on the roads of Austin have turned into lifelong friendships and a sense of community and family I could not have imagined. As I spent the Fourth of July with over 50 runners who woke up early to run in the hills of West Austin before enjoying some amazing food and fellowship, I could not help but be grateful for the family I have come to feel a part of. As I train for the New York City Marathon this November, I know that I have the support of hundreds of runners who truly want to see me succeed, and it will be those smiles and handshakes, likes on Facebook, and good luck filled text messages that keep me going. I didn’t need an app to find friends; I just needed to go Rogue.

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!

REPOST: Everything you need to know about November and December Races in Texas

Editor’s Note: This is a repost of a blog from about a year ago. Lazy? Nope Pertinent? Hell yes!   We are one month from the start of one of the most popular training programs here at Rogue: Texas Half Marathon and Texas Marathon.  Why the name? Virtually all the best marathons and halves in Texas fall into the same two week window and if you want to train for one of these, then you do it here….for Texas Marathon and Half. We’ve analyzed the courses, broken down the pro’s and con’s and much more.  So saddle up with us and lets run these wild west favorites!

Texas Half Marathon and Texas Marathon both begin on July 14th or 15th in Cedar Park, North Austin, South Austin and Down Town. 


THE LONE STARS: A TEXAS MARATHON GUIDE

by Allison Macsas

Here in Texas, we don’t offer much in the way of fall marathons, largely because “fall” typically begins somewhere around mid-November and ends a few days later.

However, we do have plenty of winter racing options and although “winter” can mean many different things, it’s widely considered the time to toe your local starting line.

So, what to choose, and where to start? There are many top-notch Texas events throughout the winter months, but in this guide I want to focus on 2014 races only – the ones that are done before the holidays, and that present the opportunity to end the year with a shiny new PR and extra reasons to celebrate.

So, read on and pick your race. Rogue is going big for Texas races this year – new training groups, awesome custom t-shirts (designed by yours truly) and ENERGY. Be part of it!

622x350THE ROCK N ROLL SAN ANTONIO MARATHON & HALF / DECEMBER 6, 2015

I won’t lie. San Antonio hasn’t exactly gotten rave reviews over the past few years, and I know many a runner who has sworn it off for good. But, nearly all of the negativity surrounding this event has been due to the weather – sweaty, suffocating, blazingly hot weather. No matter that the week leading up is chilly, and that the day after the race brings sleet; for whatever reason, the San Antonio race weekend is always. so. hot.

Well, I’m here with good news. That’s when the race was in November! And now they’ve moved to December! So although winter weather is never a guarantee, as every self-respecting Texan knows knows, there is a much better chance of cool, clear, perfect race conditions and some big PRs on what is actually a pretty fast course. (Editor’s Note: The move to December definitely helped weather-wise is 2014)

Screen shot 2014-05-03 at 9.56.40 AMDespite what looks like a 120 ft. brick wall at mile 5, overall this is FLAT terrain with a quite a bit of gradual downhill to help get the wheels turning. As this is a Rock n Roll Series event, there are bands galore, which fills in some of the quieter spectator areas and keeps energy levels high. The full and half runners take off together and keep each other company for a good ten miles, which results in some amazing crowd energy.

And, best of all, it’s in San Antonio which means that you can feasibly drive down morning-of, and be safely back in Austin in time for happy hour! No flights, no long drives, no waiting at restaurants the night before and no hotel expenses. Though it may be preferred to stay the night before to avoid any race-morning hiccups, this is one of the most budget-friendly out-of-town race choices that an Austinite can make, and one with lots of capitol city representation.

I was lucky enough to run the half marathon in 2010, a rare cool-weather year, and it was a fantastic PR-setting experience for me. With a new December race date, I’m hopeful that San Antonio will regain a spot on the favorites list this year!

website_dallasraceTHE METRO PCS DALLAS MARATHON & HALF  /  DECEMBER 13, 2015

Dallas is another race that has gotten a bad rap over the past few years, again due to everyone’s favorite scapegoat – the weather! In 2011, it rained. Cold, cold rain. It actually led to some big PRs, but also a lot of chafing and miserable spectators. In 2012, it was HOT. San Antonio-style hot. And HUMID. It’s gone down in the history books for many runners that I coach as the worst marathon experience ever. Then, in 2013, there was ICE! So much ice that the race was cancelled! All of that training, all of those race-week nerves, all of those entry fees, down the drain.* Who would possibly want to give this race a fourth chance?

My first marathon - a great Dallas experience!

My first marathon – a great Dallas experience!

Well, I would. Historically, the Dallas Marathon (formerly the White Rock Marathon) has had perfect weather. Like, 40 degrees and sunny-perfect. I grew up in the area, and began running the half marathon at age 14. I ran it every year until I left for college, and then flew back home four days before I graduated to run my first full marathon there (it was also my first ever run over 16 miles, but that’s another story). Every single time, the weather was perfect, the crowds were excited and the experience was top-notch.

The course rolls a bit, but is overall very flat, very fast. It hits a huge variety of neighborhoods and offers a great tour of the city, which makes it very easy to divide the race into sections for a strong race-day strategy. You get city, you get ritzy neighborhoods, you get the lake. It’s far enough away to feel like a “destination race,” yet close enough that you don’t have to take any time off of work. The toughest part of the whole thing is the drive up I35 to get there!

So, yes. I would give Dallas another chance, and you should give Dallas another chance. For an accessible big-city race with PR potential, this is the one.

*Except for those who took a chance on BCS. Details below.

1461471_600650926667129_1745573852_nTHE BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION (BCS) MARATHON & HALF / DECEMBER 13, 2015

Most Austinites had never heard of BCS until December 6, 2013, the day that the Dallas race organizers called off their event in the midst of an ice storm. Some people got angry and some people threw their hands up in despair, but other people immediately looked for another race.

Enter BCS! Held on the same day, in the same state, but far enough south to escape the worst of the ice, this was the golden ticket. Except for one thing – it had long been sold out, full of runners who knew what a secret gem this small event was.

However, the organizers of this race are fantastic human beings. In between setting up for the event, providing excellent communication via social media and fielding emails from desperate Dallas orphans, they went to the trouble of contacting all of the registrants to offer refunds to anyone who wasn’t going to make it to the starting line, and then opened up all of those spots to would-be Dallas runners, even offering a discounted no-race shirt or medal option to allow for more entries.

So, a number of Rogues ended up at BCS, and they ran FAST. You’ll get more on that story and that race later, but I can’t recommend this event enough. Yes, it’s a small town race and the spectator side of things is pretty quiet, but it’s flat, it’s fast, it’s affordable, it’s impeccably organized and it benefits an important cause. Plus, you can park right at the starting line, no hassles or lines or leaving the hotel two hours early. Roll out of bed and run!

Screen shot 2014-05-04 at 5.04.39 PMDECKER CHALLENGE December 6th, 2015

This long-standing Austin favorite offers only a half marathon these days, but 13.1 miles is plenty on that course! Decker has hills on top of hills, and everyone who runs this race earns some serious bragging rights.

This is a true Austin staple, a key component of the Austin Distance Challenge and an event where you’ll see all of your friends and are sure to make new ones. If the half marathon is your distance of choice and you want to keep it local and enjoy your own bed the night before, Decker is for you.

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So, what’s it going to be? All of these races will have huge Rogue representation, but as you well know it takes work to get to that finish line. We kick off training for Texas Half Marathon an Texas Marathon on July 14th, 2015. Commit, then let’s go conquer!

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562699_10100101789924218_815994431_nAllison Macsas wears many hats at Rogue Running; she is a coach, an elite athlete, the graphic designer, the blog manager, the head of Rogue Expeditions and the boss of an extremely important whiteboard calendar.

Converting a Prius into a Mustang

Ford-Shelby-Mustang-GT500-Coupe_6 by Steve Sisson

You may not know it yet, but you are ready to fly. You’ve nearly completed Rogue’s training program for a marathon, and with some simple training tweaks you can CRUSH your old 10K PR. I am going to convince you that you’d be a fool not to take the huge gains you’ve earned over months of arduous training and capitalize on them in the Capitol 10,000 in April. Below is an argument for why a few more months of focused training can result not only in a huge 10K PR, but will also set you up for your next marathon performance.

Perfect Transition
What many beginner and intermediate runners do not realize is that the training for the marathon is an ideal foundation for faster running at shorter distances. The physiological adaptations that have been developed from the long runs, threshold runs and longer intervals you completed in the fall and winter have your body primed to strike like a cobra. Essentially, you have built a huge base with marathon training that has developed your cardiovascular system into a powerful, yet highly efficient engine. Exercise physiologists will explain in all the increases you’ve developed (mitochondria, capillarization, stroke volume, blah, blah, blah.) from a scientific point of view but I’ll just explain it to you in a simple analogy: you’ve developed the engine of a souped-up Toyota Prius but can convert that efficiency, with a little tweaking, into a Ford Mustang’s muscular power and speed. How, you ask? Well let’s give you a little preview of what an  eight week 10K program will do to help your transition.

Convert the Fuel System & Tweak the Chassis

The two most important differences between racing a marathon and a 10K are distance and pace. While this will seem obvious, what might not be apparent is what is happening in your body and how a training program should address these differences. When training for a marathon you are attempting to teach your body to use your fuel as efficiently as possible for the inevitable wall of low muscle glycogen and low blood sugar that hits late in the race. In the 10K, you aren’t in any danger of running out of fuel; instead, your body runs out of enough oxygen to use the fuel your body has available. Of course, the science is a bit more complicated and I am vastly simplifying for the sake of brevity, but the key distinction is that in the marathon you train aerobically and in the 10K you need to train anaerobically.

While this requires that you train to convert your fuel system to handling the new demands, it is also essential to prepare the body for the faster paces that you will be running in the 10K. Most people will race their 10K at between 40-45 seconds per mile faster than their marathon pace. The neuromuscular system need to be prepared for the greater power needed to initiate and sustain these paces. So training for the 10K means you need to tweak your body’s chassis to handling this different demand. The workouts you’ll be challenged with in the 10K program will be designed to teach your body to run faster and with greater ease anaerobically and to handle the load of running these faster paces.

One of the additional benefits of training these different systems is that, in gaining this greater facility, your body becomes more economical at marathon paces. For example, in adjusting two of my Team Rogue Dawn Patrol athletes’ (Bryan Morton and Marc Bergman) training over the last 18 months to move away from marathon specific training and toward 10K and half marathon focused training, they were able to run significant PR’s at the 3M Half Marathon. More importantly, I am confident that they will also run very well at the Boston Marathon in April now that we’ve transitioned back to marathon training. Keep an eye on their results to see how this plays out in reality.

Seize the 10K

So, are you ready to fly? You’ve already created the opportunity for a huge personal best in one of Austin’s iconic races. The marathon training you have suffered through and are getting ready to reap the rewards of on February 19th is the ideal springboard to an epic result at the Capitol 10,000 two months later. Join us for our 8-week training program and and convert that Prius into a Mustang.

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Steve Sisson is a beer connoisseur (read: snob), coach of Team Rogue: Dawn Patrol and the founder of Rogue Running. To pick his brain on all things running, drop him a line at stevesisson@roguerunning.com or stop by the Fuel Bar on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night.

3M: A race plan for first-timers

3MHalf_2015_4cby coach Mae Coffman

It’s here! The 3M Half Marathon, possibly the most highly anticipated race of the winter season for many runners. I’m having some serious race withdrawal as I have to sit this one out, but I look forward to living vicariously through all of the Rogues as a spectator. You won’t be able to miss me on the sidelines—I’ll be the big pregnant lady busting out of her Rogue apparel and cheering like crazy.

The following is some first-timer half marathon advice and a race plan I shared with my runners this week. Hopefully some of you will find it helpful—especially if this is your first time to race 3M!

You have heard over and over how great this course is: relatively flat, downhill and fast. However, please keep in mind that it is still a 13.1 mile race and despite the “flat” description there are some rolling hills—especially at the end as you come in towards downtown near the finish. It will not be easy. If you are planning to really race the 3M, you will feel dead tired at the end and despite the “easy course” description you will need to run smart to hit your goal time or PR.

Pre-Race Week:

As with all races, it’s important that you plan out ahead of time what you’ll eat the few nights before and the morning of the race, and not to do anything different than what you’ve done in training. It will not do anything for you to carbo load the night before—other than to make you feel ridiculously full and sluggish! On Saturday night, eating a sensible dinner w/ a good balance of protein and carbs is perfect (think grilled chicken and rice). This is not the time to experiment with any new foods. Get lots of sleep on Friday night. You might have the jitters on Saturday and not sleep as well, but a good night sleep two nights before is optimal.

Don’t spend all day Saturday on your feet doing yard work, etc. Not that you have to be lazy—you’ll probably be a bit stir crazy and excited…but don’t do something that will lead you to be overtired or sore on race morning.

In planning your race outfit, consider the weather and remember that once you get running, you heat up about 20 degrees higher than the temp outside. That is why running in 50 degree weather feels so great. With the weather as it has been lately, I’d plan to wear layers at the start including a throw-away shirt. For me this is usually an old long-sleeved cotton shirt  (old Turkey Trot shirts are a good candidate) and I usually pick a pair of cheap stretchy gloves that I can toss if/when my hands are too sweaty. Pack a warm, dry shirt, sweatshirt and maybe even sweatpants for your post-race bag. Even if you feel warm while you are running you’ll get chilly at the finish after standing around. By the way, there will be a bag drop at the beginning of the race—you’ll want to take advantage of that so your clothes are waiting for you at the finish of this point-to-point race.

The night before, lay out your race outfit and pin on your number so you don’t have to fiddle with it in the morning. Put the number on the shirt you anticipate you will be wearing by the end of the race. If you have it under an outer layer—you can always flash the cameras as you approach so they catch your number. Same goes for electronic devices—put on armbands and such under your top layer if you think it will end up tied around your waist. You don’t want to be struggling with cords, etc. while you try to strip down layers mid-race.

Plan out how many Gus/gels/blocks/beans you plan to take and where you plan to take them. Check out the course map on the website and plan your nutrition around the water stops unless you plan to run with a handheld.

Race Day:

Eat a breakfast similar to what you have found successful for your previous long runs. Just as with dinner—this is not the time to experiment and find out if you should start a morning coffee routine. Don’t overeat either—you have covered distances similar to this on long runs, so there is no reason to assume you’ll need more for breakfast than you did for those weekends.

Parking can be a pain for this race—not that there isn’t enough, but the location in the cross hairs of 183 & Mopac means you’ve got to take one of the major roads to get there and almost all of them will get backed up by the exits. I recommend aiming to get there by 6-6:15 so if you end up sitting in traffic for a extra 20 minutes (and therefore finally parking closer to 6:30) you still have time to get to the start line. You also want to plan plenty of time to get in a potty break. They will have portapotties at the start, but there will be long lines so plan accordingly! My usual routine is: park, potty, drop race bag, get to start line. Warning….you WILL feel chilly as you stand around waiting for the start. But remember, you will warm up when you start running—don’t start second guessing about putting on more layers or pulling things out of your drop bag to wear while you race—it’s just an unfortunate thing about winter races—the start is cold and  you stand around shivering and feeling miserable until it starts.

3M is a big race—LOTs of folks—so after the gun goes off—don’t be surprised how long it might take to actually get to the start…3-5 minutes isn’t uncommon! When you see clocks on the course you can remember that is gun time—not chip time. I would not recommend starting all the way in the back (so don’t wait until the last minute to go get into the chute to line up…after potty and bag drop—head towards the start line). No need to be at the very front on the heels of the elites, but you don’t want to dodge around folks that are planning to walk the 13.1 distance. For those with gps watches, try to get it to pick up satellites once you are about 5-10 min from gun time. No need to get it picked up too early and waste battery life—but the WORST feeling is to realize as the gun sounds that you are still “searching” for satellites.

This is a point to point race, so if someone is meeting you, you can have them drive you back to your car (unless they also dropped you at the start), but otherwise there is a shuttle service to bus runners back. I have used that option many times and it’s really not so bad—they have it down to a science and the shuttles leave regularly so I’ve never had to wait for long to get on a bus and go.

Race Plan A: Race 3M and Get a PR Baby!

This option is for those of you who are feeling good at this point in the season. You may have had some difficult long run experiences, but you are injury free and feeling strong. Ideally you have not had a major sickness or nagging injury in the past 2 weeks. Going into the race you should know your ½ marathon goal pace as well as your 10K pace (that pace will be important because you want to be able to catch yourself if you start creeping up too fast in pace…).

The general plan is: Progression.

The start-mile 1: Despite the fact that this is a fast course, the race starts running uphill. It’s just a slight hill (on Stonelake Blvd behind the Old Navy, Whole Foods, & movie theater). You’ll run uphill for about a mile. It’s a crowded race so you’ll spend this time jockeying for your position and finding a good pocket to run. Don’t look at your watch or worry about pace. Just start running. Don’t go out too fast (though that will be difficult with the crowd anyway) and if your first mile is clocked in slower than your ½ marathon pace, that is just fine. You have plenty of distance and time to make it up.

Miles 1-4: This section has the most turns in the course. Pretty flat and not all that scenic to look at—you go through an industrial park, blech. During this stretch, focus on getting into your half marathon pace. If you are a 5-10 seconds off pace that is fine. Relax, get into a comfortable breathing pattern and settle in to the race.

Miles 5-8: This section of the race becomes a bit more scenic. You’ll be on Shoal Creek and then Great Northern Blvd (near Northcross Mall) and then back on Shoal Creek. Very straight, few turns. When you are running on Great Northern, you’ll be running the opposite direction from the marathon course. If you are not already there, this is the time to dial in to ½ marathon pace. If you are already there and feeling good, hold it! You can slightly pick up the pace in the next section…why wait until then? You still have a 1/3 of the race to go—if you pick up your pace too soon, you risk burning yourself out and crawling to the finish.

Miles 9-12: Getting into the home stretch! Now you are hitting the central Austin sights—45th street, Intramural fields, Hancock golf course, and UT campus. If you are struggling, then just try to hold steady and maintain your ½ marathon pace. If you are feeling good you can slowly starting picking up the pace with each mile. Again, these should be slight pick-ups of 5-10 seconds per mile. For example, if your ½ marathon pace is a 9:30, you would run mile 9 at 9:25, mile 10 at 9:20, mile 11 at 9:15 and mile 12 at 9:10. You should not be going faster than 10K pace until mile 12.

Last Mile: Coming down San Jacinto and onto MLK. If you have gas left in the tank then turn it on and pick up the pace one last time. This is like running 4 times around a track, or doing the cool-down distance back to Rogue on a quality workout day. It may sound crazy, but try to get your pace into the 10K-mile pace range here. Warning—leading to the finish is a hill up MLK…that part sucks—you can see the finish but you’re headed up hill. Bust that hill out like it’s one of the Rogue hill workouts. After you give that last 400 meters of effort, you can rest. Start chanting your mantra in your head. See how many people you can pass in this last mile. As you near the finish, give it one last burst and stride across the finish line—smile for the cameras!

Plan B: Complete 3M and Keep Myself Healthy

This option is for those of you who are in some state of recovery—from illness, injury, or a break in training. Or maybe you are even feeling healthy but are focused on your 26.2 goal in few weeks so you just want to complete the 3M and check it off the list. You’d like to even feel good while running it, but you don’t plan to shoot for a PR.

The general plan is: Run steady.

Start-Mile 1: Similar to the plan above, start out conservatively. Do not even worry about your ½ marathon pace. In fact, you may purposefully want to hold yourself back to closer to marathon or long run pace at the start. Don’t allow yourself to get pulled along by the adrenaline. Your goal here is being healthy. If you feel good, you can pick it up during the second half of the race.

Miles 1-9: Get into a comfortable pace and stay there. This might be your long run pace, your marathon pace, or even your half marathon pace. Make it your goal to hit steady miles, be as on target as possible.

Miles 10-12: Evaluate how you are feeling, if you feel like you could run this pace for another 10 miles, and injuries aren’t rearing their ugly heads, then you have permission to pick up the pace. Your pace should still be well above your 10K pace, but you can go faster than ½ marathon. If you are feeling so-so, than just hold steady and keep your previous pace. If you are feeling down-right horrible than slow it down. Do not push through the pain and regret it later. Walking is not a mark of shame, sometimes it’s a smart decision if the day is not turning out as you had hoped.

Last mile: Finish proud! You have completed a ½ marathon while most of the rest of the city is still in bed. Hold your pace steady or pick it up one last time if you’ve got it in you. Smile for the cameras as you cross the finish!

Best of luck to all of you! I can’t wait to hear the race stories and to see you looking strong, determined and smiling out on the race course!

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Mae Coffman coaches Run Like a Mother at Rogue Cedar Park.

Skechers. Seriously.

IMG_5934by John Schrup

I began working for the Skechers Performance Division (SPD) in July of last year.  Well before I took the job, I’d become familiar with a few of their models and had written about how impressed I was.  BMort1 had hooked me up with a pair or two and then Kurt2 had sent over a couple of others.  The GO Run series had become part of my regular rotation, along with the Kinvara, Adios, Tarther (RIP), 1400 and beloved Launch.

At first, I was hesitant to trumpet the merits of Skechers product because I was a shoe snob–the wrong kind, really, leaning more toward brand snob than anything.  But I was digging the shoes so much that eventually I couldn’t hide that I was wearing them on more runs than not  (I still have the almost unused Kinvara, Adios, 1400 and Launch to prove it. They’re in the closet, and we still chat, though mostly now it’s like when you run into an old girlfriend and you’re married with kids and you’re like, soooooooo, how’s it going?)

And then last summer I got a message from my man Seth, who was working on the SPD marketing team at the time, that I should send my resume tout de suite.  Some things happened after that, obviously, and I ended up at the Intergalactic Sales Conference in Manhattan Beach.  If you’ve never been to Manhattan Beach, CA, it’s the kind of place where everyone smells real, real tan and you get sand in your parts, whether you want it there or not.  Also, if it gets below 60 degrees, they call FEMA to bring in some long sleeve shirts, because you never really know.

Several people asked me, upon my return from MB, seriously, dude?  Skechers?  Just like I’d been asked when I was reviewing the shoes.  Yes, Skechers.  Specifically, Skechers Performance Division.

There are some challenges I really, really enjoy.  If there is an underdog quality to the challenge, I’m all over it.  And Skechers Performance is an underdog in the specialty running market, so the excitement was immediate and visceral.  The challenges are real—most of you probably didn’t even know that Skechers makes performance running shoes, and even more of you probably only knew of the Shape Ups and all that. And running specialty is well aware of it, so there’s the challenge.  How to introduce to the public a really, really, really good product from a brand that has previously not been associated with performance product?

ATHLETICS-US-MARATHON-BOSTONThe idea is to change the perception of the brand.  Most people probably don’t care that the product team is as good as it gets and is making product that is as good or better than anything I’ve seen in 30-something years of running.3 Most people probably won’t even raise an eyebrow that Meb wore them when he won Boston, because truth be told, most people don’t follow the sport in that way.  All it really takes is to get the shoes on some feet.  It’s that simple; and it’s not.  Obviously you can’t just go around giving away all your shoes, can you?  No, but all it takes is a few who are willing to try.  Word of mouth, and all that.

We know that if you’re looking for a shoe to try, there are really two fundamental variables to consider:  fit and feel.  The shoes have to fit your feet well enough that they function the way they’re supposed to.  Both the shoes and your feet, that is.  And they should feel as if you’re really not wearing anything at all.  They should disappear on your feet.  Neutral, maximal, stability, whatever.  The shoes should allow your foot to move unrestricted.  And that’s the idea behind SPD product:  To make the smoothest transitioning footwear possible.

And it certainly doesn’t hurt when you get to rub shoulders with Kara and Meb.

Skechers is now carried at Rogue Running. Stop in, try ’em on and see for yourself!

———–

1 Dude is fast, but he puts his pants on one at a time, just like you and me.

2Stockbridge.  VP, Technical Development, Performance Division.  Good people.

3Note to self:  Edit, using actual math.

An Arbitrary Endpoint

by Bill Durbin, re-posted from his blog, Left Right Repeat (Again)

Well it’s 2015 (stating the obvious). It has been for almost a day now.

About this time, a lot of people like to look back and reflect on the past year and look ahead to the coming one. Some years I do that, and some years I just… don’t. Maybe there’s some other event in the year that makes me take stock and make the same kinds of observations… maybe I just get lazy. I’m going to do a half-assed job of it this time, because I had a nice chilly, damp run today with plenty of time to think about this stuff. But I’ve forgotten most of it in the meantime.

As far as this running thing goes, 2014 was a pretty good year. I ran a lot of races (for me) this year. Seven, if I don’t count relays and “fun run” events  – eleven, if I do. Among those seven, I set a personal record at every distance I raced – 5k, 10k, 10 mile, 1/2 marathon, and marathon. That’s a lot of really good races. I also had a really crappy 10k and a fairly poor 1/2 marathon early in the year, but we’ll forget about them for now.

Why was this year so good? I can point to some of the easy things – my training has been different, more miles, better quality work. I ran more miles between May and December than I’ve ever run in a full year. I could get all introspective and talk about finding my motivation and listening to my body and whatnot. I could point at the race-day conditions and say I just got lucky for every single race this year.

But at the root of it all, it’s people (not in a Soylent Green way). It’s the team. I have this awesome group of friends to meet with several times a week, and a great coach who invests in us and really cares about our success. They are the ones who make me look forward to waking up long before the buttcrack of dawn every Saturday to go run an uncomfortable number of miles. They’re the ones that motivate me to show up two nights during the week to run yet more miles at uncomfortable speeds. And on those cold, wet days where I am dragging my feet, I am fortunate enough to have a supportive spouse who is more than happy to kick me out of the house so I have to run around for an hour and a half to just stay warm. I can’t credit any of these people for race-day weather, but the motivation, accountability, and friendship (and of course, the happy office snacks) that they provide are what enables the miles, the quality workouts, the consistency. They are the real reason 2014 was a great year for running.

2015 is still a big unknown, but at least I seem to be starting the year off right.