Tag Archives: racing

runner's road kill

Runner’s Road Kill! How This Mindset Can Improve Your Running

runner's road kill

Road Kill Tallys Proudly displayed in a team relay

Road kill: n.  a runner left in your dust.

Traditionally Runner’s Road Kill counts are only kept when running 200 mile team relay races.  While you are running your leg of the race you tally in your head the number of runners you pass.

Once you have sufficiently fueled (with a sandwich and Coors Light of course, micro-brew if it’s your last leg!) you proudly get to add a tally to your teams total…Let’s be honest, if your like me it’s the very first thing you do when you get back to your car!

As you can tell, I’m a little competitive.

With spring coming out, I already see my running times improving and I will tell you my trick.  I don’t just keep road kill tallies on Relay Runs.  I keep a tally on all my runs.

In the winter when there are less runners on the road, it is easy for me to settle into a slower pace.  There are no runners to race.  With the arrival of spring and the sun comes the competition of more runners on my routes.

runner's road kill

Imagine how many Road Kill you could get in a race!

Focusing on passing someone ahead of you is much easier than pushing to maintain a speed.  When you aim to pass someone ahead of you, you keep your gaze forward.  You have better posture and a more efficient runner stride.

If your new to running don’t fret.  There are plenty of road kill for you too out there.  I see it completely acceptable to count walkers.  You are moving faster than they are.  If someone was walking in a Ragnar relay I would most certainly count them as Road Kill!

Once you move a comfortable distance ahead, there is no shame in slowly down…just remember road kill have a way of coming back to haunt you.   People don’t like to be passed 😉

running drills to improve running form

Running Drills to Improve Your Running Form


running drills to improve running formYou know it is important to have good running form, but often it is developing that good running form that is hard.

The 3 main keys to good running form is:

  1. Mid Foot Strike
  2. Angles:  Dorsiflexed foot and knee to 90 degrees
  3. Forward Tilt

Here are some running drills to improve running form:

easy runs will get you back in shape

Easy Runs Will Get You Back In Shape

Have you ever taken a period of time off from running?easy runs will get you back in shape

Or maybe you didn’t mean to take time off, but when all was said and done you ran so infrequently you couldn’t keep up with your old pace.

Getting back into running shape is probably the most frustrating thing!

It is even worse than when you first started running.  At least back then you didn’t have expectations for yourself.  As a beginner, no one expects you to be fast.  Once you been a runner you have an expectation of what your “normal” pace should be.  After a month or 2 without our normal training routine that pace falters because our body can’t keep up with our legs.  We still want to run that fast, because that’s what we remember being normal, but the adaptations we developed have gone away.

We don’t deliver oxygen as efficiently as we did while we were in shape.  

Runners, however, are stubborn.  We will try to push ourselves to our normal pace and this will lead to one of 2 situations.

  1. We either run as hard as we think we should be able to and only run 1-2 miles rather than the planned 4-5.   OR
  2. We run and then stop to walk.  Run then stop to walk.

Neither one of these situations is going to get you back to the shape you were in.  Easy runs will get you back in shape!  Now don’t get me wrong, if you are looking to lose weight or just running to burn calories you will accomplish that goal.  If you are looking to regain your runner’s stride though YOU NEED TO RUN SLOW!

EMBRACE IT!  That’s what you’ve got to do.

Running slow is when your body begins to make adaptations.

  • We begin to expand our capillary beds so we can better deliver oxygen through our blood and remove CO2!
  • We increase our stroke volume so we can pump more blood with each heartbeat!  More stroke volume=lower heart rate at any given intensity!
  • We stimulate the production of more and larger mitochondria.  (The Bacteria that live in our muscles and produce more ATP!)
  • We train our slow twitch fibers to be more resistant to fatigue.

If you continue to try to push speed you won’t run long enough to stimulate these adaptations.  

Slow down your pace for a couple weeks.–Grind out the miles.

You’ll be running fast again soon!

run a marathon

2013 is the year you will run a marathon!

run a marathonNow before you start thinking to yourself, “I can’t run a marathon.”  Think about this:

Anyone can run a marathon.  Oprah Winfrey did it.  Senators, presidents, and movie stars do it all the time.  The hit reality show The Biggest Loser even culminated in a marathon for the contestants who have lost the most weight–as if to make the point that anyone, even the morbidly obese, can become an athlete with enough grit and determination…It’s been said that the marathon has become the ‘everyman’s Everest’.” –The Runner’s World Big Book of Marathon and Half-Marathon Training

If you aren’t currently a runner, you probably think you can’t run a marathon.  You are wrong.  I wouldn’t recommend running one today, but you can run one by the end of the year.

If you are a runner and you say you can’t run a marathon, you say this out of fear.

Anyone can run a marathon and if anyone can run a marathon, even the busiest person can run a half marathon.  Think about it.  The only thing stopping you is your mind.  So make up your mind that this will be your year!  You can do it!

What races are you running this year?

Comment below!  Maybe I’ll see you there!!

Need a training program?

I can help you come up with a customized training program that fits your life and work schedule.  Skype with me and we’ll make the best plan for you!

good running form

Proper Running Form is as Easy as Listening to Your Body

There was an interesting article in the New York times, given to me by my Dietitian friend Chelsey Bobcek.  (Thank you Chelsey I love having articles sent my way!  I would love anything YOU think I might find interesting!)  In Finding Your Ideal Running Form by Gretchen Reynolds, Reynolds states,  “ ‘You can optimize your gait naturally,’ she** says, ‘by becoming more conscious of your running movement and how it feels.’ Your body, at least in the early stages of becoming a runner, can be a fine and knowledgeable coach.”

The research proposes that maybe, “’If runners can self-optimize,’ as the women in this study seemed to do, then ‘maybe we should teach runners to learn to understand how the movement feels to them,’ she says, rather than completely change how they run to one standardized form or another.”

If a runner can become more efficient running with improper form.  They could most likely accelerate the process of becoming a good running if they understand the form they should be working for.

So then the answer is, we as coaches need to teach you, the runner what it feels like to run correctly.  If we could, you would run in a way which causes your bodies the least amount of pain.   (ie: If it’s painful now, you may be doing damage to your joints that will hurt more, later.)  When you run correctly you put less strain on the joint.

running form

So what does correct running feel like?  As a beginning runner you should be rotating these thoughts or cues continuously through your head.

  • Belly Button: Suck it in so you support your lower back and hips.  Remember the hips stabilize the knees from the hips down, whereas your shoes stabilize the knee from the foot up.
  • Chest: Tall, feel yourself rise out of your hips leading with the chest
  • Shoulders: Relaxed, keep them away from your ears!
This is all part of having good posture!
  • Foot: Dorisflexed with each strike!
  • Strike:  On the midfoot, underneath the body.  Do not overstride.  Do not land on your heel.
  • Quad:  Begins to engage upon strike to initiate extension all the way through the glute.  This will help cushion the knee joint on impact.
  • Glute: Activates through push off with the ground:
  • Big Toe: Gives the final push off, with ankle never leaving the doriflexed position.
  • Foot:  Never leaving that Dorsiflexed position.
When you are first beginning to run repeat these cues over and over in your head.  Reminding your body to do this motion will train you body to activate the muscles that you wouldn’t have used before, making you a more efficient runner.  When you feel like you’ve hit every cue, start making your turn-over faster,…and faster,…and faster until you are running as fast as you can, same form until you can’t keep going.  You can take a break to catch your breath, it’s ok. (Your heart will thank you for pushing it! 😉 )  If you want to improve your speed, you have to show your muscles what that would feel like.  One day when you’ve practiced enough and your cardiovascular level has caught up, it will come natural!
Lastly, when you are done; make sure you foam roll!  As you start to develop your stride, you will be using muscles you have never used before.  Treat them right, massage them when you are done so they want to keep working for you!
**Quotations within quotes are from Isabel Moore, a researcher at the University of Exeter, who led the study.


visualizationVisualization is a great tool to utilize before a big competition.  Think of it like a dress rehearsal that won’t tire you legs!

To visualize you want to get yourself very relaxed.  Lay down on your yoga mat or couch.  Close your eyes or keep them open gazing at one point on the ceiling.   Then begin to relax you body from your feet on up.

Clench your toes squeezing as hard as possible clench, clench, clench and then relax let them melt into the floor.

Repeat with your feet tighten, tighten, tighten.  Then relax and melt into the floor.

Move to your calves.

Then your quads.

Squeeze and clench your glutes.  Then relax and let those butt cheeks sink into the floor.

Tighten your abs.

Then you palms,  squeezing them into a fist before relaxing and letting them sink into the ground palms up.

Clench your forearms, flex your biceps arms still extended.  Then relax all arm muscles as you melt into the floor.

Tighten those shoulder blades, your deltoids, and lats.  Squeeze for about 5 seconds.  Then relax and melt.

Relax your scalp,  your eyebrows,  your nose, your chin, and finally your mouth.

Relax your entire body, melting into the floor.  Let go of all your stress, worries, anxieties,  and tension.

Now you are ready to visualize.

Picture yourself walking to the start line.  There will be a ton of people around.  Energy is in the air!  Nerves are high, but you feel confident.   We all feel nerves differently.  (My palms and fingers tingle and burn.)  Channel that energy and use it to your advantage!

Enter your corral.   You want to stay calm but remember those nerves you feel are adrenaline fueling your blood to run fast!

As you approach the start, get excited!   You’ve trained for this!  YOU ARE READY!

Run through the gate.  DON’T go out too fast.  YOU WILL WANT TO–DON’T!  Warm up in the first mile.  Check your split as you hit the first mile marker ….i bet it’s too fast.  Adjust and hit your intended pace.

Cruise through mile 7.

….Then hit it!  The race is on.  Your blood is pumping, you are feeling good.  You cruise through miles 7 and 8 even though the hill has begun.

Then the pain begins to set in.  You are tired and you are on a hill.  DON’T let the hill win.  Visualize extending through those glutes.  Power through the top of the hill!

At mile 11 feel the pain.  You want to stop.  Tell your body says NO!  Remember you are stronger than you think you are.  You’ve trained for this!   Keep pace.

Feel the pain.  Breathe into the pain.  Practice a power breath.  Breathe all the way into your belly and then slowly let it out.  Remember oxygen fuels you!

You are almost there keep pushing!  As you get closer to the finish.  Know there will be pain.  But that’s why you did speed work.  It’s almost over.

Hear the crowd.   Channel their energy!  They will pull you in.  When you hit that shoot RUN!  FASTER!  SPRINT!  Like your life depended on it.  Don’t leave anything back.  You should want to collapse.   Push, push, PUSH!   This is the goal!  This is what you trained for!

Remember pain is temporary.   Pride is forever.

Do this each night before the race.  Remember back to psych?–The self-fulfilling prophecy.   It’s real.  So believe.   You can do it!  Race hard.  It will all be worth it!

running with confidence

Running with Confidence

With the summer Olympics coming I am getting stoked to watch the highest level athletes compete in track and field (the American trials are June 21-July 1st in Eugene!).  One of my favorite events is the pole vault, and since I vaulted for many years I feel the need to give a little bit of education on the sport.  Unlike most think, vaulting doesn’t actually require much upper body strength

running with confidence

Glute power and deltoid power….No biceps needed!


What it does require is speed, power, technique, and confidence.  When athletes combine all four of these athletic abilities, they are able to vault using larger poles which therefore toss them higher in the air.  Vaulting on larger poles is the equivalent of being a more badass human specimen.  The irony is as an athlete moves to a larger pole, a factor of doubt in their ability to properly execute enters often enters their mind.  With doubt an athlete tends to run slower, jump with less power, and/or not take off with the same technique making the new larger pole no longer useful to them.

running with confidence

Allison Stokke Vaults with Confidence

Running is similar.  We need to take care to strike on our midfeet, extend each stride through the glute, keep our cadence quick but efficient, and keep our cores tight and chests tall.  With race day approaching, it is vital to start running with confidence that you can do this.  Everything you do in life is better when you believe in yourself.  If you don’t believe in your ability you waver.  You can probably attest from past experiences in relationships and work that when you doubted yourself things do not run as smooth.  You have spent the past 20 weeks training to have the strength, form, and endurance to run a great race.  If you doubt this ability you will undoubtably slouch, waste energy, run slower, than expected, and/or a combination of the above.  Without confidence we can exaggerate movements leaving our stride tense.  We want to feel loose and fast!

running with confidence

Kara Goucher runs with confidence. Check out those glutes!

So from here on out, run with confidence.  You have worked hard to build great form!  Use it!  Just like a vaulter can fail you if they don’t use the skill that got them to the next pole, you can fail if you don’t utilize the tools you have developed.  If things don’t go right on race day, that is ok; but if you don’t go out trying with confidence and focus, you lose your opportunity to impress yourself.

To Bandit or Not to Bandit….

“Bandit (n., v.) One who participates in a race unofficially, without having registered and paid for it.  Also: the act of running a race as a bandit.  Also called jerk.

Correct: Because he couldn’t seem to scrape together the $5 entry fee, Henry ran the Podunk Lions Club 5-K as a bandit.

Incorrect: “I was looking forward to trying that new sports drink made with absinthe, but they bandit.” -Mark Remy

Runners with race season approaching, I just wanted to put out a fair warning that it is inappropriate to bandit under most situations.  People work very hard to put together a race and most are for a good cause.  Besides when you bandit, you don’t have rights to your time.  If you run a PR don’t you want to be able to post and claim it?

When is it ok to bandit you might ask?  It is never ok to run a race as a bandit, but it is acceptable and sometimes completely hilarious to bandit race photos.


“Rule 2.38 Race Photos Never Look Good

And I mean never.

Brad Pitt could show up at the start of a marathon completely rested, tanned, toned, massaged, hydrated, and professionally styles, and by the time the race photographer snapped him at mile 13, he would….well, he would probably look pretty good.  He is Brad Pitt after all.

But the photos of Brad Pitt, when he finally saw them, would look horrible,  In the photos, Brad would look like a badly dehydrated Quasimodo having a seizure.  This is the magic of race photography.  If the folks who sold race photos were smart, they’d charge people not to send prints of their pics.

That said, should you order some of these race photos anyways?  Absolutely. And the bigger, the better.”  -Mark Remy

As you know race photos never look good….so you might as well make the person’s ahead of you a funny keepsake. 😉


Rocky and fist pumps

“Rule 2.15 You will hear the theme from Rocky

For road racers, hearing the theme from Rocky isn’t a question of “if,” but “when.”

During any given race, the chance you will hear the theme from Rocky blaring at the start/finish line, or from a spectator’s stereo along the course is 75 percent.  IF the race is in Philadelphia, that probability soars to 98 percent.

Little-known fact: regardless of location, age, gender, ethnicity, or income, precisely 67 percent of runners will react to hearing the Rocky Theme during a race by raising both arms and pumping their fists.

This is the real-world manifestation of what mathematicians call the Stallone Constant.rocky

Strange but true!*

*This is not true” -Steve Remy

Without fail you are also going to hear Bruce Springsteen “Born to Run”, Flock of Seagulls “I ran (so far away)”, Kanye West “Stronger”, and the latest rap song; something like Flo Rida “Wild One.”  While these songs may (or may not) pump you up they will be playing at the start line.  If you like them, great!  Enjoy the pump up before the race starts.  If not make sure you have your own playlist ready.  In fact it, might be a good idea to have a playlist ready regardless.  Even if you are doing a “Rock N’ Roll” marathon there is really only music about a tenth of the time.  If you are someone who likes to run with music, it is vital to have a stellar playlist ready.

I recommend perfecting this playlist way before your race.  Studies have shown that one can get lost in music and become less affected by the “pain” or fatigue of running fast.  The more you listen to a song as you run; (especially when you do your speed work) the easier it will be to get caught up in the music, rather than your thoughts of being out of breath.

Some songs I recommend for your list are:

TaTu- All the things she said (A great one to get lost to the beat to)

Tom Petty- I Won’t Back Down (A great mantra song)

The Naked and Famous – Young Blood (A great song for picking up your cadence!)

Awolnation – Sail (Really good for pounding up a hill!)

Amberlin – The feel good drag (Adrenaline rush song!  Remember it will all be over soon!)

Sea Wolf – Middle Distance Runner (Calming.  A good song for the middle miles)

Yeasayer – O.N.E. (Some 80’s fun beats for you.  Remember to smile when you run!)

XX – The Intro (Another great hill song!  Maybe a good one for the top of a hill)

Easton Corbin – Roll with it (A little country makes those middle miles fly!)

Augustina – Boston (I listened to this over and over and over on my long runs…I qualified for Boston 3 times that year.  Just saying 😉 )

M83 – Midnight City ( Fist pump it!)

The Temper Trap – Sweet Temptation (Great beat!  Another one in which the chorus is a good mantra.)

Radical Face – Welcome Home (Get lost in the clapping 🙂 )

Nikki French – Total Eclipse of the Heart (It was on my high school volleyball warm up mix.  Remember that old song you used to run out to?  Put it on your mix!)

These are a couple of my latest favorites!  Please leave your favorite running songs!  I can always use more 🙂

going for the great

Going for the Great!

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” -Prefontaine

Going for the great

Great quote runners!  So many meanings top two ways I can interpret his words:

1.  When you’ve been invited to go to Happy Hour but haven’t hit your run for the day, forget  how good that post work buzz will feel and go for that GREAT runners high!

2.  Don’t run your speed workouts on days where they will only be good.  Make sure you make every speed workout GREAT.  Otherwise it is a waste.  The challenge, keeping your body healthy so that each speed workout can be GREAT!

Go for the Great Runners!  Race day is approaching! 🙂