Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Training for 5k/10k - Jan
1:57 pm edt
Hello Coach Janet, This question resulted in quite a discussion with my running friends, and I'd love your opinion. If
a runner wants to run, say 25 miles per week and is training for shorter distance races (5-10k), what is the best way to distribute
those miles throughout the week? More frequent, shorter runs or less frequent, longer runs? Thanks so much!
- Coach Janet this is a classic question and the answer isn't as straightforward as you might think! Each
athlete is a unique individual with unique areas of strength and weakness -- and if you train based on what your weak links
are, you'll improve. The bottom line in my mind is this - the event has a certain demand for endurance - you must be
able to complete the distance if you intend to RACE the distance! So for that I always look at the big picture and make sure
that one of my workouts is addressing the distance question. That's usually the longest run of the week and I usually
keep the intensity of that run fairly low. For good results in shorter races (5k and 10k) I like to work up to a long
run that's substantially longer than the race distance -- for a 5k, working up to 6 or more miles, and for a 10k working up
to 10 or more. Keep in mind though that your longest run shouldn't be more than about 35% of total weekly mileage
-- so if youre goign to do a 10 mile long run, you should probably be logging at least 28 (preferably 30) miles per week.
So - that leaves the athlete with another 18-20 miles per week to distribute on the other days. I like
two days off per week but some athletes can get away with just one. So -- for my routine, those 18-20 miles will be
distributed over 4 days. I pick two of them to be easy days -- perhaps running only 3 miles those days. That leaves
me with two other days that I can work on moderate distances (perhaps 6) or if I'm in a race-preparation phase I could use
those moderate overload days to work on higher intensity stuff like hills, intervals, longer race-pace specific runs, etc.
You see this is the fun part of training plan development -- it's not the same for everyone and it won't be the same
from one phase or period of training to another! This is why "canned" training plans often fall short of
more personalized and customized plans. Hope this is food for thought! Best regards - Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP,
Monday, March 31, 2014
Calming nerves before a race - PT
9:09 am edt
Coach, I get super nervous before highly competitive track races. I think it affects my performance because of my mental
state going into the race. How can I calm pre-race nerves? (Directly before the event and even the days leading up to the
Reply - Coach Janet
There are several good books that might help you, but it also might
be worth your while to consult with a sports psychologist for some guidelines and mental exercises you can practice. Simplified
version is that learning to reframe negative thoughts and emotions into positive ones will be immesely helpful in terms of
your performance. One book I've referred to in the past is "In Pursuit of Excellence" but Terry Orlick. I
think you can get it from Human Kinetics publishers. Best of luck to you! Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Adjusting a "canned" half marathon plan - Melissa
9:28 am edt
I'm running my first half marathon in 7 weeks. I started running again this past week. Not ideal, I know, but I'm generally
pretty active, lead a healthy lifestyle, and have ran cross country and track in the past. I've been looking up training programs
online, but they don't fit well with my schedule. Can you make any recommendations for tweaking them? Most generally seem
to have you do longer runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, but Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays my schedule is the
busiest. If I shift everything forward a day, then the longest runs are on Mondays. Will movings the schedule forward have
an impact on my race day? That is, will my body get settled into this schedule and be thrown off if I'm running the race on
a day I'm not used to running a long day on? Thanks so much for your input!
Reply - Coach Janet -
I don't think your body is going to be thrown off by running your event on a day other than your typical long-run day. This
is one of the challenges of using a plan that's not been customized for you -- the days don't match with your life, and the
progression may or may not be apppropriate for someone who's only got 7 weeks to train! Look at your life - pick the
day of the week that works best for your schedule for the long run. Then pick two other days during the week (hopefully
not back to back, and hopefully not the day before or after the long run) and put your medium distance days there. For
example if Sunday works better for your long run - then perhaps Wednesday and Friday would work for medium distance days and
you could do shorter runs on Tuesday and Thursday or Tuesday and Saturday. Remember, training is a process -- you've
only given yourself about 5.5 weeks to train.... the last 10-14 days should be a gradual taper so that you toe the start line
with legs that aren't totally exhausted from training. My best advice though, since this is your first half marathon,
is to give yourself more time to train! Injury risk goes way up when you try to "cram" for a test like this!
If you'd like a plan thats fully customized to YOU, your schedule, your fitness level, your goals -- get in touch! Coach
Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Persistent ITB issues - Janet
5:14 pm edt
Hi Coach Janet, I get frequent bouts of ITBS and patellar/quadriceps tendonitis. I've seen both a sports doc and PT, was
told I over pronate and probably have weak hips and glutes (structurally my knees are fine). I wear stable running shoes with
a Superfeet insert, and religiously do all the hip strengthening exercises prescribed for me. I incorporate cross training,
I lift weights, I try to be smart about my running...everything that's supposed to prevent my issues. Yet I seem to continually
get them. In your opinion, is there anything I'm missing as far as cause or treatment? I would really like to get rid of these
things once and for all. Thank you so much for any insight you're willing to provide.
Reply - Coach Janet
sounds like you're doing all the right things but perhaps a progression of the hip strengthening exercises would be worthwhile
if you've been doing the current ones for awhile? Maybe you're ready for the next level of challenge? If your PT feels
that you're already doing all the strength work they can give you then it may be that orthotic support would help. I
don't generally jump to those right away, but if you've addressed the weakness and any lingering tightness issues -- then
it might be an avenue to explore. Generally hip and core weakness is the biggest issue in my experience so lots of attention
there is usually the best resolution. Strength work 2-4 times a week. Also - make sure the training plan you're
following is appropriate in terms of pacing, overload/recovery, and progressions and intensities. Hope this helps! Coach
Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS
Monday, March 24, 2014
Training faster than goal pace - PT
10:23 am edt
Do you believe that to run a specific goal time in, for example, a mile race, that you need to run slightly FASTER during
reps than goal pace because you have rest in between?
Reply - Coach Janet It's common when you're
training to achieve a new PR to so some intensity work at paces slightly faster than goal pace, but this is not something
I'd recommend for a beginner. I've had good results using shorter intervals at slightly faster-than-goal pace in well
seasoned and experienced athletes. You always have to consider the risk/reward. Hope this helps. Coach Janet Hamilton,
MA, RCEP, CSCS
Friday, March 14, 2014
Icing prior to a workout or race - PT
3:09 pm edt
What do you think about icing 6-8 hours before (the morning of) a hard workout or race?
Reply - Coach Janet I
am not sure what you're trying to accomplish with that? There are some studies that show that cooling the body temperature
prior to running or racing in a very hot environment may improve time to exhaustion but I would think that it would need to
be closer to the time you're running than the 6-8 hours you mention. Some believe that icing may improve recovery from
hard bouts of exercise, but that would occur after the event so I'm not sure what you're going for with an ice treatment 6-8
hours prior. Perhaps you can provide some insight? Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS
Follow up - PT -- By the 6-8 hours prior for icing,
I'm meaning as far as recovery goes? Say you're still sore coming into it. Is it too late to recover slightly the morning
of a race? Can it relieve soreness during the day or do you need to sleep for best recovery? Thanks.
- Coach Janet - In my opinion if you're still sore the morning of a race you've failed to follow good basic
training guidelines which usually include some sort of planned recovery or taper period in advance of your race. To
my knowledge, there's no way to substitute for that. I don't think the ice treatment 6-8 hours prior to the event is
going to to much of anything. Recovery and tissue repair is a physiological process that takes time... you can't magically
speed it up with ice. Your best bet is to plan your training around your key races and include a taper phase so that
you toe the line with well-rested and refreshed legs. Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Quad/Patellar Tendonitis - Jan
10:41 am edt
Hi Coach, I'm nursing a mild case of quad/patellar tendonitis, and my dr. has told me to avoid squats and lunges indefinitely,
but to continue strengthening my glutes and hamstrings. I have the ok to run and cycle, as long as it isn't painful. My concern
is that I will create muscle imbalances if I'm only strengthening the back side of my body. Am I worrying over nothing, or
do you feel this could be a problem? Thanks!
Reply - Coach Janet I'm inclined to agree
with you Jan... the focus on only one area would potentially lead to problems down the road. Did your doc give you an
idea WHY you ended up with this patellar pain that they've diagnosed as "tendonitis"? If not then it makes
sense to me to dig a little deeper and make sure that your rehab includes a focus on any factors that may have contributed
to the problem... was it muscle strength or flexibility issues? Was it a change in footwear? Was it a sudden change in training
volume or intensity? It makes sense to me to ask your physician for a referral to an orthopedic physical therapist who can
help you with exercises that will address underlying issues.
In my experience the key to most knee issues lies
somewhere OTHER THAN the knee itself. In other words the knee is often a victim, not the perpetrator. The usual
culprits in this are a weak set of hips and a foot that's not supported well. Simply saying "no squats or lunges
indefinitely" doesn't make good sense to me, since every time you get up/down from a chair, you executed a squat to to
it! Squats are part of life. The second reason it doesn't make sense to me is that recent research shows that
most conditions diagnosed as "tendonitis" are actually "tendinosis" instead. That seems like semantics,
but it's more than that. The "osis" is a degenerative condition and research shows that eccentric exercise
is a good way to stimulate the collagen repair process that will hopefully reverse the degenerative condition. Bottom
line - it's complex and if you're not sure how to progress, consult with an Exercise Physiologist or a Physical Therapist
for assistance. If you can't get a Rx for PT, get in touch with me and I'll be happy to try to help. Best of luck
-- hopefully you'll be over this soon! Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Shooting for a sub-4 marathon - Daniel
8:28 am edt
Hey, I am a 14 year old that lives in Southern California. I am a 8th grader and I ran my first marathon which was the
LA Marathon with SRLA (Students Run Los Angeles) for those of you who do not know what that is its a program that lets anyone
from 7th grade to 12th grade run and train for the LA Marathon. So I have not had any injuries and have not been hurt at all
this year. The most I have had was a few cramps and some post run sores but other that it was actually pretty good. But of
course on marathon day the biggest day of my life so far I get Shin Splits!! I ended up with 4:48:42. People on the team said
I did great and I did have the best time for Middle School wise on our team and was third overall on our team. Which is a
team of 20 by the way mostly high school kids. I also run Cross Country and am very committed to running. On the pace I was
running I was going to get between 4:00 and 4:30 but I want to get under 4 this next year. I know most you guys are much older
and my time is probably a joke but that is why I came here. Any advice.
REPLY - Coach Janet Wow, Daniel
that's absolutely phenomenal that you trained for and completed your first marathon, at such a young age! Congratulations!
Your time is NOT a joke... it's a great performance and you should be very proud of it. As you learned with this first
marathon, it's a very long way to run and there's plenty of time to make mistakes not only in training and but also in racing.
You said your training went well (injury free) - but how about your race strategy? In my experience a common mistake
for first time marathoners is to go out a little too fast in the first part of the race (when you feel good and adrenaline
is high) and then fall apart later on because you burned up too much of your available capacity early on. If you faded
in the second half of the race, perhaps that's the issue? Another common cause of late race fade is just not having
enough mileage base to RACE the distance. In other words, running an event and RACING (running as hard as you can sustain)
are different things and most first time marathoners are able to improve their performance when they get their total weekly
mileage up a little higher and get several 20 mile training runs behind them. One more thing to consider - were
you adequately tapered in advance of the race? Never underestimate the value of well-rested legs on race day. Typical
taper for a marathon is a gradual progression over the final three weeks of training. Bottom line - you accomplished
something that VERY FEW kids your age have accomplished and you should be very proud of that. Take your recovery time
seriously, give yourself adequate time to train for the next one and continue to develop as a runner. I'm quite confident
you'll achieve your goal! Congratulations Daniel -- job well done and you're just getting started. Coach Janet Hamilton,
MA, RCEP, CSCS
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Calf issue 12 weeks from Boston - John
11:02 am est
I am training for Boston in 12 weeks and getting through some calf weakness and pain when I toe off. I am coming back from
4 weeks of low impact and strength training but can not seem to get past 9 or 10 miles then the leg tweaks and I stop so I
dont hurt it bad. I am reaching the point where it is getting critical to increase milage if I want to finish the marathon.
I am 56 and never qualified for Boston before and may not again so this is adding some pressure. The recovery training the
last 4 weeks has been steep inclined fast walk/slow jog which was fine with no pain and able to get through 60-90 minutes.
Strength work was calf stretching and toe rises with toes pointed in, out and neutral. Since this develops late in the run
I am not sure if I should focus on rest, strength or flexibility knowing Boston is 12 weeks away. Consider I am going to the
starting line no matter what happens so what can give me the best chance. Qualifying time was 3:33 14 months ago and I have
been running 20-30 miles per week until the injury last month. I have been running 8:30-40/mile pace on the long runs and
use lower leg compression sleeves.
Reply - Coach Janet
Hi John, without knowing exactly what the
source of the initial calf issue was, it's hard to say for sure what's the best thing to do. Walking on a steep incline
at fast pace is very stressful for your calf/achilles so that may actually have stressed a tissue that was trying to heal?
Was this a gradual onset condition or something sudden? Generally strength work for Achilles tendinopathy is a good
thing. If your qualifying time for the marathon was about an 8 min mile, it sounds like you're possibly running your
training runs at too fast a pace -- 8:30 for your long run is much faster than you need to be doing. Most pace predictors
(mine included) would put you running your long run closer to a 9-10 min mile pace. Perhaps simply backing off
the speed a little would allow you to complete longer long runs? Make sure you're doing enough weekly mileage to support
your long run. You can certainly supplement with walking but perhaps taking some of the steep hills at fast walk pace
would take a little load off the injured area? It makes sense to me for you to continue your strength work a couple of times
a week for maintenance, continue gentle and consistent flexibility work on a regular basis (daily?), continue to use your
compression sleeves (no hard evidence they help, but no hard evidence they hurt either so if you like them, wear them). I
think the biggest change I'd make is to ease your training pace to something in the 9 min range for shorter runs and something
closer to the 10 min range for longer runs. I know that seems slow -- but plugging your marathon time into a pace calculator
gives you some reassurance that backing off a little on the training pace is proabably a good step in the right direction.
Good luck, congratulations on qualifying for Boston. If I can be of further assistance in your training feel free
to reach out to me - janet at runningstrong dot com. Hope this helps - Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Knee pain 1 month out from half marathon - Jennifer
9:16 am est
Hello there! My first half marathon is one month from tomorrow. Training was going beautifully. 10 days ago was my last
long run of 7.5 miles and it was perfect, just had some typical soreness, iced afterward and felt fine. Two days later I
headed out for my next scheduled run of 4.5 miles and had to walk home after 2.5 because of a nagging knee pain in my right
knee. There was no specific moment of injury, just a pain that came on slowly. I have been resting and icing ever since.
I am starting to panic that I will not be ready for the half next month, as my longest run was only 7.5 miles and at this
point was ten days ago! Not sure how to proceed with my plan without getting reinjured, yet still be able to make it across
the finish line. Do you have any advice as to how I can safely resume my plan with only one month to go?
- Coach Janet
When you say "typical soreness" that makes me pause a little. Had you been feeling
some warning signs prior to this run? Knee pain is often the result of abnormal loads imposed on the knee due to weakness
in the hips and tightness in the muscles that affect the knee - key among those are the calves, hamstrings and quads. As
you've been training for this half marathon have you also been keeping up with some strength training and flexibility exercises?
With only one month to go you've really only got about 2.5 weeks of training, then the rest is taper prior to race day
-- so you're kind of out of time. With a long run of only 7.5, you're going into this half marathon a little under-prepared.
That doesn't mean you have to pull the plug on it - but rather that if you do choose to do it you go into
it respecting that you're under-trained and treat it as an "event" not a "race". That means running
it at a conservative effort, perhaps even doing a combination of run and walk if needed. Since this is your FIRST half marathon,
might I respectfully suggest that you consider postponing to a later event date to give yourself time to recover and safely
resume training and get yourself better prepared? Perhaps an event 2 months or more down the road would give you time
to recover and address the issues that may have contributed to the knee pain, then safely and carefully resume training and
give yourself enough time to get to a higher mileage base. For now - do whatever cross training you can do - walking
will be the most specific form and carries over well to running even though it's not a high-aerobic demand activity like elliptical
or bike or swimming. Continue to address your symptoms as you have been, and if you've not already been doing them -
work on some strength exercises for your hips and some flexibility exercises for your legs. When you resume running,
start with walking for warm up, then ease into your run. Make sure you're training at the appropriate pace (not too
fast). If you'd like help with this, I'd be happy to help you on this path. Drop me an email: janet at runningstrong
dot com. Good luck, hopefully this is just a brief little hiccup! Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS
Monday, January 6, 2014
Running Coach in Kanchipuram - Shobanbabu
9:20 am est
Sir still date now I finished five 10 km with Best time of 42 minutes .I had practice regularly myself
now I want running coach for me My home town is kanchipuram .Tamilnadu
Reply - Coach Janet
If you're looking for a local coach in India, I can't be of much help but if you're looking for a coach
via the Internet I'll be happy to assist. Send me an email and I'll send you the initial questionnaire. You can
read about the fees on the "SERVICES" page of this website. Email address is janet at runningstrong dot com.
Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS
Saturday, January 4, 2014
Flexibility and running - Kyana
7:11 pm est
I want to get flexible
because I'm trying out for cheer but if I get flexible will it make me a slower runner?
- Coach Janet
Kyana the good news is that improving your flexibility will not make you a
slower runner. In fact some of the strength training and plyometric workouts you'll do to improve your jumps and stunts
for cheerleading will improve your explosive power and may actually contribut to the strength needed to become a better runner.
Have fun with both sports. Hope this eases your worry - Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS
Thrower or runner? - Keyiera
7:04 pm est
My coach doesn't believe In me to be
a runner I have been doing track for a year now and all I'm looked upon Is a shot putter but I want to do more i want to be
a sprinter and a jumper but everytime at practice he never treats me the same and he frequently metions me as just a thrower.
When i first got into track i was big but I have lost some weight alot actually and I feel myself getting stronger and getting
faster i keep up with the workouts and other people I'm running and he sees my improvement but he still sees me as a runner.
What can I do? What should I do? Do you think I could be a runner/sprinter or am I just to fat/slow. I'm deticated I go 2
practice everyday which most people on my team dont do and give my all. Do you believe in me?
Keyira, you don't say how old you are but I believe that people can pursue whatever
dream they want! If you're working hard, keeping up with the workouts and really feel driven to be a runner rather than
a thrower -- then I say just follow your spirit. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to ask the coach for a private sit-down
talk... really share your goal to be a runner rather than a shot putter. Talk honestly to your coach about how you feel and
what you'd like to do. Then ask -- what will it take for me to be competitive as a runner/jumper rather than a shot
putter? Believe in yourself and tell him that you want his guidance but also his support! The good thing about
sports is that there is a variety and you don't have to lock yourself in! It's not important that I believe in you --
it's important that YOU believe in you! Best of luck in whatever track and field path you choose! Coach Janet
Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS
Friday, December 6, 2013
Upcoming Marathon - Richard
1:42 pm est
I have been training for a December marathon over the last few months. This will be my 6th one. I have never run a sub
4 hour marathon, but it has always been a goal. This year I have worked on speed and have had good success and feel that it
is finally a possibility. However, I decided to run a 1/2 marathon on Thanksgiving Day and pushed myself to run an avg 7:55
pace. I felt great and achieved a new PR. However, since that run, it has seemed very difficult to motivate myself and when
I do run, it feels like I haven't been training, legs are heavy and I feel out of gas. I am regretting running the 1/2, because
I was cruising along so well with my training. Have you experienced this? Can you offer any suggestions? I still have a marathon
to run in 23 days...
Reply - coach Janet
Knocking out a hard-effort half marathon just a few weeks
before your target race isn't going to totally sideline you but you do have to respect the need for a bit of recovery after
that hard race. Relax - if you have continued to try to train hard since that half, perhaps a few days of rest would
be a good choice? Taking recovery after a race is important - for a hard half marathon it may take a couple of weeks
to get adequate recovery and there's no way to make it go faster. Your training is pretty much in the bag at this point
for the marathon - the peak long run usually occurs about 3 weeks before race day - so it's about time to start the taper
for your marathon. Hopefully you didn't leave your race out there on the half-marathon course! Get some rest -
do only easy effort stuff for a few days or even take several days completely off and see if you can't get your legs back.
Good luck! Hopefully a little recovery time is all you need and you'll be ready to hit it hard on race day. Coach
Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS, RRCA-certified
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
"Seizing up" on long runs - Marty
I am a 59 year old male runner who has completed 9 marathons and numerous 1/2 marathons. My training ranges from 30 base miles/week
to 50+ when I am preparing for a marathon. Over the last 2+ years I have developed significant hamstring tightness and cramping
during and after long runs. Post run throbbing/low level pain continues for a couple of days. I've been to a sports physician
locally who put me on a good stretching program. It helped a bit but didn't solve it. I'm wondering if this is a result of
some type of muscle inflammation or something along those lines. I was curious as to your experience and thoughts about how
to get past this. I literally seize up during some long runs and in a marathon.
5:17 pm est
Reply - coach Janet
are several things to think about on this one Marty.
1 - are you running your training runs at appropriate paces
or are you pushing too hard? Many runners in my experience train at paces that are too fast for their current fitness
level and in the process not only put themselves at risk for injury but also short-change some of the physiological adaptation
that needs to take place to support better running economy at aerobic paces.
2. - are you fueling properly before,
during and after your long runs. Not only carbohydrate replacement but also electrolytes like Sodium, Potassium and
Calcium... electrolyte imbalance due to not replacing as much as you need to could contribute.
3. Any time someone
complains of hamstring pain I'm curious about their hip strength. Here's why - hip extensors (your gluteals) and hamstrings
work as a team when you run so if you're a bit weak in your hips, too much of the load is being borne by the hamstrings.
Increasing strength in your hips is usually a great first intervention.
4. Biomechanics - this is a broad
area to look into but things like choice of footwear, and your unique skeletal alignment can play into the mix. Since
you got some relief with the stretching exercises your healthcare professional gave you - perhaps there are other areas of
tightness that are contributing as well -- tight quads perhaps? Tight hip flexors? Tight calves?
this is food for thought -- if I can be of more assistance let me know... janet at runningstrong dot com.
Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS