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
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Hitting a Plateau - Beth
9:26 am est
I have been in a plateau this entire cross country season, I haven't improved at all. This is my first year running high
school cross country, however I ran for two seasons previous that club cross country. I extended my club track season into
the end of July and was only able to get two weeks rest before I started cross country in August (by that time pre season
was over). My coach said that he thinks one of the reasons I have plateaued is because I didn't get enough rest in between
seasons. My question is whether I should run club XC into mid-December after high school ends (this Saturday) and whether
running club or not running club would help with my plateau? (The club I would run for is VERY competitive and rigorous,
so it wouldn't be just easy running).
Reply - coach Janet
As I'm sure your coach has told you,
lots of things go into the mix when it comes to performance. You need the right amount of training (too much is detrimental,
as is too little), the right amount of fuel (restricting calories can devastate performance and eating too much is detrimental
as well), the right amount of rest, and the right mental attitude.
With that in mind as you consider whether or not
to continue club X-country into December, really examine how you're feeling. Are you tired? Do you still look forward
to your training runs or do they sometimes feel like work? Are you battling injuries? If so that's a clear sign that
taking a few weeks off competitive running might be a good thing. Also realize that if you don't do COMPETITIVE running
that doesn't mean you're sitting on your butt eating bon bons.... you're still running, but perhaps at a lower mileage level
and with reduced emphasis on the harder training bouts of hills and speed...
I don't think you'll HURT your performance
by taking a break as long as you're paying attention to the other details. Make sure you're fueling well, getting adequate
sleep, and paying attention to the signals from your body. Perhaps a few weeks of down time between competitive
seasons would be a help for you! Hope this helps - Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Marathon goal - Aneli
Hello! I am 18 years old and I live in the Bay Area. I have been running since I first joined cross country in my freshman
year in HS. I am currently in my first year in college. I ran my first half-marathon this past summer in August. Then, I had
my second this month where I was first in my age division! Now, I am preparing for another half-marathon in Tiburon, CA in
this coming November. Starting this personal running career is an amazing and just purely exciting. In time, I want to be
able to complete triathlons. For now, I am starting small even though 13.1 miles is still a lot! Anyway, I am debating when
I will be ready to run my first full marathon. There is one I am very interested in registering; it is the San Francisco Marathon
on July 27th, 2014. I wonder if between now and that date is a good time to prepare while taking consideration of the fact
that I am still new to this "career." Is running a full marathon within 9 months too early? Should wait more and
train more in the meantime or it is okay? I run up to 20-40 miles a week in every month. The mileage depends on my half-marathon
training. It would be great to have an insight and some advice from you! Thank you!
10:54 am edt
Reply Coach Janet
think you would be safe to target a marathon in July - you've been running for 4 years, you've completed half marathons, and
if you're healthy and injury free it won't take a big leap to get you from your current weekly mileage of 20-40 up to a consistent
mileage of 40-50 which would support you completing your first marathon. As with any distance the first time - the goals
should focus on getting to the start line healthy and getting across the finish line feeling good and having enjoyed the training
and the race. Once you've completed that first marathon, then you have a better sense of how the distance unfolds during
a race, and how best to improve your time. For most athletes the first marathon should have goals that are not highly focused
on finish time -- but instead on learning the event and then subsequent marathons can be for PR's. I don't think running
a marathon in 9 months is too much for you with your current fitness level. Train smart - respect the distance and build
your fitness/endurance base first before focusing on intensity workouts like intervals and pace runs. Fuel well, underfueling
robs you of performance and health. Train at proper paces (hint, not race pace!) and listen to the feedback from your body.
Good luck! Enjoy the journey and let me know if I can be of assistance. Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS
Friday, October 11, 2013
Improving half marathon time -- Todd
10:56 am edt
I am a 1/2 marathon fanatic and have run quite a few now. My best time is only 2:29 though and I am getting frustrated.
I want to get faster, and I also want to increase my distance to train for a full marathon. How do I do this, and are these
2 goals mutually exclusive of each other?
Reply - Coach Janet
Todd, these two goals are absolutely
NOT exclusive! In fact they work together really well. Nothing builds speed in a race as well as endurance! If
you build your overall stamina and endurance to be able to run longer distances, then the shorter ones become less of a "strain"
and can be done at higher intensity (speed) more easily. Think about this - Would you expect your 10k time to improve
if you built your long run up from perhaps the 5 or 6 mile range to a long run of 10? You bet! By training smart
and building your endurance and therefore your fitness base, you also build your ability to tolerate a higher volume of specific
speedwork. When you can do more speedwork, you can improve your race times.
How do you do this? Build sensibly,
train at the right paces, do some key strength exercises to work on areas that will help your performance, and when the time
is right, transition into some speedwork to insure that you know how to run the right pace. You know.... I know
a great coach that can help you with this :-) Get in touch if I can be of assistance -- best regards - Coach Janet Hamilton,
MA, RCEP, CSCS, RRCA-certified
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Deep water running - Pat
In training for an ironman & and injury arises, if one deep water runs the remaining "long runs" until race
day, which is approx 7 weeks away. How do you think the quads will hold up? Besides the deep water run there will be one
short run (5-6miles) per week outside. Thank you
12:13 pm edt
Reply - Coach Janet
Deep water running is a
great form of aerobic conditioning, but unfortunately it doesn't load the leg muscles in a fashion similar to running.
The resistance of the water is not the same as what your legs experience when they're dealing with gravity. With only
7 weeks left to train for an event as substantial as an Ironman -- you may want to evaluate your readiness and consider picking
another event that allows you more time to rehabilitate and then rebuild your running muscles. Your cardio fitness will
be there... but your leg strength will be affected by this layoff from running. It's hard to run a marathon on one weekly
run of 5-6 miles....
Best of luck on your rehab - hopefully you're back on your feet soon! Coach Janet Hamilton,
MA, RCEP, CSCS
Breathing, and squats for ITB - Janet
Hi Coach, I have two questions. First, what's your opinion on rhythmic breathing for injury prevention? I recently read Running
On Air, and according to the author, alternating the foot strike while exhaling can prevent same-side running injuries. I've
been practicing it, but it's very awkward and seems to make my breathing ragged and uneven. My second question is about ITBS
and squats. I read an article that said if one is prone to ITB problems, any type of squats should be avoided, yet glute strengthening
is supposed to protect against ITBS. Are squats really problematic for ITBS sufferers? Thanks for your time. Janet
10:29 am edt
- Coach Janet
I like the idea of what I refer to as an asymmetrical breathing pattern, especially it seems helpful
for people who suffer from side-stitches when they run. I usually encourage athletes to inhale for two footfalls, then
exhale for the next three. For example inhale on the left and right foot falls, then exhale left-right-left then the
next inhale starts on a right foot. If you find that feels awkward you can try switching to three beats for the inhale
and two for the exhale. Many runners use an even pattern (so they'd end up initiating the inhale and exhale always
on the same foot) and I don't think there's a ton of research out there to show that one method is better than the other.
As for the ITB question - you're right... one of the keys seems to be getting your hips as strong as possible. I encourage
things like clamshells, hip drops, planks, bridges etc... and I do recommend squats! In my humble opinion, squats
are part of life! If you sit in a chair, you squatted. If you get up, you came up from that squat. Squats
are life. With that said, my recommendation for those with current symptoms is to squat only to a depth that is comfortable
and painfree, and use body weight only until such time as you're able to squat to chair seat depth with no issues... then
if you want to add resistance by using weights you're probably safe to do so. In my experience I find that ITB issues
are often related to hip weakness, especially the gluteus medius and the lateral core region (lateral muscles of your low
back like quadratus lumborum) and tightness in the calves and hamstrings. Dealing with those deficiencies should help. Hope
this helps! Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS
Walking Shoes - Kathy
You were quoted in the Better Homes Garden August 2013 issue about "a Pair of Walking Shoes." I enjoyed the article
very much, and there was a picture of a pair of walking shoes. What brand and style were they. You talked about arch support,
rooms for toes and non slippage at the heel. I have one wide foot and it is often a challenge finding the right shoes. The
ones pictured had orange and white laces on white with orange accents. Thank you.
10:17 am edt
Reply - Coach Janet
sorry to say that I don't know what model the magazine used! If you're dead set on that particular pair you'll have
to contact the magazine and ask the editors about the shoe they used for the graphic. On the other hand, perhaps it
would be even better if you went to a technical running shoe store in your town and asked them to properly fit you with the
shoe that not only fits your foot, but also offers just the right amount of support (too much can be almost as bad as too
little!). Look around for a running shoe store in your town - Fleet Feet is one nationwide chain that has stores in
many towns across the country. You're not likely to get the help you need with shoe fit/selection from the "big
box" sports retailers -- their sales people just aren't as knowledgeable about footwear. If you want, send me an email
and I'll try to help you find a store in your town. janet at runningstrong dot com...
Hope this helps -
Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Mileage requirements for 3k x-c runner - Anonymous
What's your opinion on what the total number of miles a middle school XC athlete training for 3k meets should build up to?
8:16 pm edt
Reply - Coach Janet
I'm a fan of making sure that the athlete has enough mileage base to support
the speedwork needed to make the race time they're shooting for. With that said - I'd say that shooting for something
in the range of 20k a week seems reasonable. Consult with your middle school cross country coach -- I'm sure they have
a plan in mind.
Friday, August 16, 2013
Training with a cold - Fern
Hello, I am currently training for my first half marathon after having a baby 11 months ago. My training is going well and
I am doing a 12km race next weekend. I have however caught a bad cough and have had to take three days off. I am worried
about how this will affect my fitness and the training I have done. The half marathon is in 8 weeks time. Also, is it advisable
to still do some sort of exercise with a cold, even if it is light cross training, or should one take complete rest. I would
also like to comment that my body says rest and get better, but my mind does not agree.
10:05 am edt
Reply - Coach Janet
Hi Fern, missing a few days of training is not going to affect your fitness. Not to worry -- fitness doesn't
evolve or evaporate in that short a time period! Trust in all the hard work you've done over the last several months
of training and respect the feedback you're getting from your body. The most important aspect of any race performance
is to arrive at the start line healthy and injury-free. Sometimes that takes a little finesse -- but the outcome will
always be better because you're healthy! You mention you still have 8 weeks to train for your half marathon, so you're
probably not going to miss a beat from this little issue. This is where giving yourself ample time to train up for an
event really pays off -- if you have a training interruption due to illness or life-commitments or injury - it's not a big
deal, you've got plenty of time to get back on track. Not to worry -- get well soon! Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP,