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.


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 or stop by the Fuel Bar on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night.

Fall Marathon Madness

Soooo Whatcha-Watcha-Watcha Want? 

A Fall Marathon Planning Guide

by Steve Sisson

If the Beastie Boys reference above is lost on you, no worries…we at Rogue just want to make sure you know where you get your information from, huh? OK. I’ll stop with the early-90’s hip-hop references already, but it’s almost April & if you’re racing a fall marathon in 2014, you need to get movin’.  While the NYC & Chicago Marathons are the most popular fall marathons, it’s easier to break into Fort Knox than to get your entry punched into either. Of course, that is one of the reasons those two races are so amazing: anything hard to get must be worth the chase, right? In this case, the answer is a resounding “YES!” But there is a cost to it, as well. If racing with 40,000 or 50,000 of your very best friends isn’t your idea of fun, see below. We’ve done some research on nine of the best fall marathons out there.  We’ve also provide a series of links to more info on each of these options to help you do further research on your own.

There are many different aspects to consider when choosing a fall marathon, from weather, course, size of race, Boston qualifying window, etc. & we help run through the advantages & disadvantages of the marathons below. If you are still curious about one of the listed options & would like some additional Rogue intel on any of the races below, contact me  ( & we’ll put you in touch with a Rogue who has run the race. With the amazing amount of experience that the coaches & athletes of Rogue bring to the table, we thought we’d share the wealth. We have also linked each race with the latest info at, which includes participant reviews on each. This can also be helpful as you choose your fall marathon challenge.  If you think we missed the coolest race, or just want to pipe in to concur or refute a race we’ve highlighted, please tell us about it in the comments section.

Next week we’ll share the race Rogue has selected as the fall marathon we’re most excited about. We’ll be sending a cadre of coaches & athletes out to this race with an official pre-race talk, including course description, strategy & motivation; amazing course support with Rogue cheer stations, hydration drops & in-race adjustments & an epic post-race celebration that you won’t want to miss.


Santa Rosa Marathon
blog 1

Date – August 24, 2014

Location – Santa Rosa, California

Marathon Guide Link

While this race is earlier than all the others on this list & is a full month before fall officially begins, it has the added bonus of being prior to the Boston Marathon qualifying window closure & the start of race registration. Several Rogues have raced other late summer/early fall races & found them either to have poor weather or a less than ideal course. We only have one Rogue report about this marathon but it was very positive. The weather in Northern California in August is downright chilly compared to Austin. With a race start time of 6AM, the event is started in the dark but the temperature is usually in the low to mid 50’s with a low humidity/dew point. Though the highs are typically in the mid-80’s, these numbers aren’t reached until mid-afternoon.

The course is relatively flat, with some moderate hills as the course winds through a winery. One major criticism of the race seems to be that the first six miles are run on a concrete path that is only 7-8 feet wide which made passing difficult. Of course, this is easily fixed by positioning yourself correctly at the start. With pace groups between 3:00 – 4:30, this is easily accomplished.


Lake Tahoe Marathon

September 12-14, 2014

Location – South Lake Tahoe, CA

Marathon Guide Link

The Lake Tahoe Marathon is one of the most unique events in the country & has been a Rogue staple for multiple years. In fact, co-owner & coach Carolyn Mangold can’t get enough of the fun; she has led a Rogue group to the race for the last four years. Here is what she had to say about the events: “Lake Tahoe is unique in that this race weekend of Sept 12th to 14th 2014 has something for everyone, from the 10k to the marathon, or a single day race to triples. This year (2014) 10 Rogues have committed to the triple challenge, some returning from last year, others new to the event.   The hilly course around the lake keeps the PR time-goal pressure off and allows the runner to enjoy the beautiful scenery.  Each day’s course starts and finishes at a different point around the lake.  The course is run on the roads that circle the lake, another plus for those who do not like trail running. Try the triple half or triple full for to set a new goal and accomplishment for yourself!”

Shout out here to longtime Rogue Michael Wedel who won the Tahoe Triple in 2013. Whoop! Whoop!


St George Marathonblog 2

Date – October 4, 2014

Location – St. George, UT

Marathon Guide Link

The St. George Marathon is an anomaly. It has developed a reputation in its 38 years of running for being a fast, downhill course but if you know anyone who has raced the event, they’ll tell you that it certainly doesn’t FEEL downhill. Many folks hear about it being a downhill course & think, “BOOM! BQ, baby!”, only to wonder where their legs went the final 8-10 miles.  Though I have not personally run this race, I have coached many athletes for the event. If you are trained to run downhill, by systematically working downhill-specific training sessions into your training cycle, then you’ll have an amazing race. If not, you’ll swear this race was all uphill in the first half then have your quads blow out so bad that you may not be able to run the final downhill miles. Reports of the altitude’s effect have been minimal, the weather is usually perfect & an event with this history has logistics down pat. If you decide to do St. George, make friends with Lost Creek to get the most out of the race.


Portland Marathon

Date – October 5, 2014

Location – Portland, OR

Marathon Guide Link

This marathon is very close to my heart. I ran this race on my 40th birthday a few years back &, though I was unable to meet my goal time, it certainly was not the race’s fault. This course, which starts in downtown Portland, is a relatively flat course, with a long – over half a mile – hill that climbs to St John’s Bridge. The course then winds through flat neighborhoods that overlook the city before dropping back into a downtown finish. The event is logistically very well supported, though it gets pretty sparse in the middle to late miles in terms of crowd support. The weather is usually perfect, if a bit drizzly, & if you’ve never been to Portland, you’ll love the city itself. This is a great marathon with reasonable crowds. One thing to be aware of is that there are a few trains that occasionally stop participants for less than a minute. If you are concerned with the time loss, contact the race organizers who will spot you the stoppage time & a little “get-back-to-speed” time as well.


Twin Cities Marathon

Date – October 5, 2014

Location – Minneapolis/St Paul, MN

Marathon Guide Link

The Twin Cities Marathon is a hidden gem. The Minneapolis/St Paul area is stunningly beautiful; the fall weather is typically ideal for marathon racing, and the support & logistics are very well handled. The course is flat & very scenic, winding around a few of the 10,000 lakes Minnesota is famous for.  Crowd support is reportedly awesome for this event. Scott MacPherson, one of RogueAC’s multiple Olympic Trials Marathon qualifiers, had a PR on this course & raved about the event afterwards.  This course is very “BQ friendly”, boasting a net downhill through 20 miles, 3 miles of gradual climbing & a 3 mile drop to the finish line. We cannot recommend this race more highly.


Chicago Marathon
 blog 5

Date – October 12, 2014

Location – Chicago, IL

Marathon Guide Link

The second largest marathon in the world, Chicago is a big f^*@ing deal. The winding, city-bound course is fast, fast, fast. The logistics, crowd support, course design & epic field size make this race a MUST RUN on any marathoner’s bucket list. Of course, you’ve got to get in through a lottery, which always has its challenges. But that usually means the wait is worth it for those who make it in. The weather is occasionally iffy, with polar winds or the rare heat wave, but, on average, the weather is great in early October in Chicago. One concern every year is the wind but if you are a 3 hours or slower marathoner the field size should block most of the wind & make it only a minor nuisance. If you are looking for a fast, well-supported BIG race experience, yet still want to run fast, Chicago is the best option in America.


Columbus Marathon

Date – October 19, 2014

Location – Columbus, OH

Marathon Guide Link

The Columbus Marathon is probably the biggest marathon you’ve never heard of. With approximately 7,000 marathoners & an additional 11,000 half marathoners, this race isn’t small potatoes. We asked a local to give us a course preview & this is what he said:

“The course winds through Columbus and the close-in suburbs, giving runners a good feel for what all Columbus has to offer. Historic neighborhoods roll right into revitalized areas. Plus, you get the experience of running through one of the most historic and iconic football stadiums in the country: Ohio Stadium. As part of the full marathon, runners cross through one of the end zones, with families in the stands to cheer you on.” He also mentioned that temperatures were usually in the 40’s for most of the race, being a bit cooler at the start. One challenge we heard was that there are no pacers & determining where to place yourself at the start might be a bit of a challenge. Of course, most Rogues only use the pacers as guides so this shouldn’t be a big concern for our athletes.


Marine Corps Marathon
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Date – October 26, 2014

Location – Washington, DC

Marathon Guide Link

Well, if you are not in this one already for 2014, you won’t be able to get in, unless you know someone who is willing to transfer his or her registration. In 2013, there were some logistical challenges in terms of entrants securing race bibs so MCM moved to a lottery system for 2014. While sad another beloved event has been forced to resort to the lottery, it is a testimony to the unique race experience (most participants sign up to support the military & are not overly concerned with their race time). The course is beautiful but is pretty narrow for the number of participants, and the energy of the environment leads to more fast-starters who fade in the later miles making the congestion worse. Some years the weather is perfect, others it is hot & humid. This race is best for those who are looking for a unique race experience & not necessarily a fast time.


New York City Marathon
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Date – November 2, 2014

Location – New York, NY

Marathon Guide Link
The Grand Daddy of them all: the New York City Marathon. This is the largest marathon in human history with over 50,000 finishers in the 2013 edition. Less than 500 of those registered did not finish, which is a testament to the tradition, pageantry, & majesty of this race. Of course with any race this large there will be logistical hurdles & crowded streets, but despite the magnitude, the race runs amazingly smooth. The course, on the other hand, is less than smooth. While you wouldn’t think of New York as particularly hilly, there are bridges to climb & the final miles run through a rolling Central Park. With the crowds & course, this is not a recommended PR course, though many Rogues have had stellar PRs here if they followed their training program closely.  Of course, the biggest challenge is getting into the race; however, like Chicago, the wait makes the event’s specialness & atmosphere unlike any marathon in the world.

Up next, we announce our pick for the Rogue “race of the fall”. We’ll tell you which of these races we like & why. Check back in seven days.


Steve Sisson is a beer connoisseur (read: snob) and the founder of Rogue Running. To pick his brain on all things running, drop him a line at; just expect to buy the beer!

My race… err… training report.

By Chris McClung

So, yesterday I completed my 8th marathon in Philadelphia. I was shooting to PR and beat my prior best time of 2:46, but the marathon had different plans as it often does. I ended up with a solid, respectable 2:49:35. I followed the plan, executed perfectly through 19 miles, but my legs tightened up and essentially powered down around mile 20 leading to a long, painful run to the finish and a 5 minute positive split on the second half. There is really not much more to report.

What went wrong? I have theories but I don’t know and may never. The marathon is a harsh companion. You train for months logging week after week of high miles and long runs while trying to stave off injury and illness and bring your best to race on one single day. For this one, I averaged over 60 miles/week for the 23 week program, ran 10 long runs of 20+ miles, and put in more 5:30 am runs than i can count with TeamROGUE. And, in the final weeks, I was on a steady diet of zinc, vitamin C, echinacea, and allergy medicine trying to keep the germs at bay as person after person fell sick around me. That leaves me with lots of hard work done, months of worrying about the details AND now a big fat unmet goal. This leaves me asking: is it all worth it?

Well, I already had the answer even before I lined up on race day. This training cycle has given me the answer and brought me to a new perspective on all of this madness. The answer for me is this: it isn’t all about race day. It’s really about the whole process from start to finish. The training is as much a part of the end as it is the means to it. If i ignored that and focused only on a less than perfect race, then I would overlook the countless cool experiences and moments of insight along the way. So, here are a few of my lessons from training:

1. Running is only an individual sport if you let it be. Yes, for most races, we all run for an individual time. But, in training, it does not have to be that way. Joining Rogue and TeamROGUE has taught me that. I can’t say enough about my training partners. They hold me accountable, they push me on hard workouts, they hold me back on easy days, they give me injury advice when I feel a tweak, they trade pacing duties with me on steady runs and track workouts, they pull me up the Scenic hill on hard repeats, they give me tough love OR encouragement at the right moments, and they kick my ass on a run when i start to get overconfident. In short, we work together… we work as a team to help each other achieve our goals, and I am a better runner for it.

2. Trust your coach and the plan. You never know where it will take you. Brian from TeamROGUE put it best in a forum post: “I have learned that if you’re told to do something, you give it a try. I’ve also learned that Steve is a great coach. He builds you up so you can achieve what he is asking. So I do it.” Yes we do, Brian. Enough said.

3. Relish in the work as much as the race. The race isn’t the only time and place where you can push your limits or have fun. I have struggled with this in the past, sometimes thinking of the training as a chore or as a box to be checked on the way to race day. This cycle I found myself looking forward to the runs and the community that came with them. There is nothing like testing your limits 3 times a week with good friends. Why else would anyone in their right mind run Scenic/Pecos hill loops at steady pace, much less do it twice?!?

4. Invest in people and friendships along the way. And, in hindsight, I still don’t have this one right, but I have learned my lesson (albeit late). I can’t tell you how many hours I have logged running in this group, and admittedly, some I still only know on a superficial running level. And there are people in TeamROGUE who happen to train at different paces, and I still don’t know their names. My bad, my fault, wrong point of focus. Don’t let it happen to you… I won’t again. This community, our community should transcend pace or group.

In the end, you won’t find me crying over 3-4 minutes. I am content with the result and more than blessed to be able to take this kind of journey. I am still driven to push my limits and will no doubt stage another attack on my marathon PR, but I will do so with a renewed determination and a new perspective on the journey to get there.

PS. Special thanks to: my wife and son for putting up with my crazy running hours. Coach Steve for the countless hours and sacrifices you put in to make us better runners and people. Ruth, Carolyn, John and the rest of the Rogue crew for the tireless support. The entire TeamROGUE group for pushing me and each other to not only run faster but have fun doing it (with specific shout-outs to Kamran, Asia, Brent, Corey, Larry, Damon, Niccole, Muz, Paul, Jim, Andrew, Allison, Mike, and Jason).