Five Key Stretches for Runners (in just 4 minutes) [Run Time Episode 4] #running

running-advice-bugOn this special “Quick Tips” episode of Run Time, Coach Joe English shows you runners five key stretches that every runner should be doing every day. These stretches are easy, relaxing and we’ll teach you about them in just a few short minutes.

Run Time is the talk show for runners. We feature interviews and advice for runners of all skill levels. Find more episodes on our web-site at Follow Coach Joe English @coachjoeenglish

Future episodes will dive into running topics, including mental strategies, picking the best races, dealing with injuries, eating, book reviews and much more. Stay tuned.

Running Advice and News


Five Tips to Get Started with a New Run Training Schedule

running-advice-bugOne of my new marathon run training participants asked me this week for some help getting through the initial start-up stage of a marathon training plan. She was feeling over-whelmed with the adjustment to a scheduled exercise routine as well as the increasing distance on the long runs over the course of the plan. Here is a bit of her question:


“I think one of the hurdles that’s keeping me back is consistency, and if I just keep running three days a week I will probably make big gains quickly. but I also have been following [your] coaching message and understand that the weekend longs are really important. at the moment they’re just overwhelming to me, but I’m not giving up. I don’t want this to get so far ahead of me that I can’t catch up…”

First, I agree that consistency is the key. Just work on trying to find a way to get something in each day. Let’s say you only have 20 minutes. Put the gear on and do something for 20 minutes. It may not feel like much, but over time you will establish a pattern and as you get in shape you will go longer. Even someone like me that would like to exercise for four hours a day has days where I can only find a few minutes. I will still do a short workout to make sure that I have at least gone through the motions for the day.

Second, set a shorter term goal for yourself. How about setting a goal of doing 75% of the scheduled workouts over the next two weeks. Or doing your best to follow the schedule for one month? There are two things going on here. On the one hand, having a short-term goal is less overwhelming than looking out further at the marathon season or months ahead. And on the other hand, research suggests that, if we can do something consistently for about 28 days (a month) a pattern will take hold. Once a new pattern is established it is easier to keep it going.

With regard to the long runs, they are important to keep up. They are important primarily because the distance marches on, so to speak. If you get too far behind, it starts to feel overwhelming to catch up. (Just as you describe.) But this doesn’t mean that you can’t break them down and take them in pieces like you suggest. Finding a strategy to get through them may be the key to you. Running the whole thing may not be an option, but that’s OK too.
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Marathon: How long should your longest Marathon training run be?

running-advice-bugIt seems that the length of the longest training run for your marathon training has become a sort of hot-button topic in the coaching World. There was a time when just about everyone agreed that 20 miles was enough. Somewhere along the way, we’ve seen two diverging trends: 1) coaches advocating a much longer run, perhaps up to the full 26 miles and 2) coaches focusing on time or intensity, rather than a specific distance. I land somewhere in the middle, assessing each runner or walker individually.

How long should your longest training run beI was asked a series of a questions for an issue of a national running publication on this topic and I thought I would share my thoughts on the subject. I was answering this on behalf of my work with the Team In Training (TNT) Program, as I am a national adviser to the program. The views below are my own and should not be attributed to the entire organization as many people have different opinions on this topic.

1) “Why don’t most marathon training programs include at least one long run of 26 miles?”

Coach Joe: I take a holistic view on runners and assess what’s best for each individual. It is a myth to me that every runner has to follow the same formula to be successful, when every runner comes to the starting line with different goals and having different capabilities. For many years we topped out all of our training plans at 20 miles, because this was a good balancing between the amount of training necessary to finish the race and the potential risks of getting injured in training. We now recognize that the recovery period and risk of injury both get progressively greater as the activity goes over 20 miles, but we also acknowledge that faster runners may benefit from going longer than 20 miles.

So in today’s world it makes sense to look, for example, at runners that are banging out 20 miles in under two hours and give them the opportunity to run 22 miles in training (which is only a few minutes longer at their pace). At the same time we may have participants that could take six hours to finish 20 miles at a slower run/walk pace and in those cases we may want to limit the length of their workout to a maximum duration to ensure that they don’t get injured in training. Our philosophy is to get participants to the starting line of their race, rather than having them get injured in training, so they can at least participate in the event that they set as their goal.
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Video – Season 2 – Episode 25 — Running Coaches

running-advice-bugWe’re on episode number 25 of the season and by now you must all know a little bit about Coaches Joe and Dean. We’re full of opinions and advice to be sure, but what value do we really add in life? This week we take on the topic of running coaches: what good are they?

On this week’s episode:
– Who needs a running coach?
– What should you expect from a running coach?
– What is the process like to work with a running coach?
– Who are running coaches and how are the different from one another?

To visit our video pages with links to all of the episodes in the series, go to:
Season 1 Video Page

Season 2 Video Page

Running Advice and News


Training: How do I run a faster 5k?

Coach Dean Hebert

Coach Dean Hebert

Here is a question from a reader named Kathleen in Portland, Oregon that asks about improving her 5K times:

I am a 43 yr old female and have been running for about 15 years. In the past 2 years I have become more serious and decided to train for 5ks. I run about 25 miles/ week. I run 5 days/week. Included in that week are: a tempo run of 20-30 minutes, 4-6 intervals of 800-1000 m, a long run of 6-8 miles and 2 easy pace runs of about 5 miles. I sometimes replace an interval workout with a faster pace 400s or hill repeats. I base my pace of all my runs on Jack Daniel’s VDOT numbers. I currently am able to race a 5k in about 22:30 and seem to be stuck there.

You have progressed very nicely and your times are quite good. The program you’ve followed has obviously served you well and Daniel’s data is very good to base your training on.

To improve we need to look closer at your paces, phases and progressions. I’ll make several observations from the information that you’ve provided:

Paces – To run fast you must, run fast. Sounds ridiculous when I say this, but it is a critically overlooked fact by runners. In order to run faster (break 22:00 for instance) then you need to improve your absolute speed (very fast stuff), as well as running progressively more reps/miles at your targeted race pace… and slowly decrease your current race pace or calculated paces from Daniels’ formulas.
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