Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Increase Your Speed!

We caught up with one of our resident speedsters, Doug Farris, to talk about some pointers on how to increase your speed, now that race season is gearing up again!

Here we are running and drinking just having a great time but sometimes we want to get faster but what does it take really take to get faster? When I started training I wanted to figure out what I needed to do to run as fast as possible over the distance I was racing.  The problem I ran into is that there’s so many good coaches out there with vastly different approaches to training their athletes.  So what is the best way to approach speed training?  Well just like Monica Bolt said that cross-training is tailored to the induvial so is speed training. 

If speed training is tailored to the individual how do we tailor workouts to meet our own specific needs? Well not all of us want to be one of those crazy insane runners that has their life revolve around running so we need to find workouts that fit our specific lifestyle and goals.  We need to figure out how many days a week we’re willing to run and how much time we can dedicate each day to our runs and workouts.

The ideal situation is where you get to the point where you are running 5-6 days a week and have 2 days for speed workouts and 1 for a long run.  We all have our own schedules and we need to adjust our training accordingly but still maximize the quality of our training that we do have time for.  For example leading up to running 17:00 in the 5k I didn’t break 30 miles a week and also ran a 1:21:13 in the half.  I was cross training on the bike some to keep my legs fresh with the low impact cardio and my strength training workout was really consistent but very simple.  I believe the quality of the workout is way more important than the amount of miles you put in.  The goal is to put in minimum amount of effort while still getting the maximum results.

If you’re interested in running only 3 days a week space out the runs to allow for your body to recover before the next run.    One of the keys is alternating your workouts from week to week. Before and after each speed workout make sure you have an easy run to warm up before starting the workouts especially in the winter. On one week have some shorter mixed short distance sprints on the track (200m-400m) and then the next week do longer distance repeats (800m-1mile). Another good idea is to add in some hill repeats occasionally.  The second day will usually be a tempo or progressive run.  One thing I would do is start out with a pace I could run hard at for 3 miles and increase it by a mile every week or every other week.  Another way would be to have that target pace and set the starting pace slower and get faster every mile so that the average time is where you want it to be.  The last workout day is usually your weekend run.  The last day you can have an easy long run at a distance where your legs don’t feel dead afterwards and do several 100m build ups afterwards.

Any days that you run over 3 a week should be at a nice and easy pace to recover from the speed days while still getting some miles in.  With some of the easy runs add in a few build ups to help build speed even on the easy days. Always take the easy runs and warm ups extremely easy so that we have more energy for our speed work.  Try to finish the workouts with a little bit of energy left so you don’t beat your body down and have enough strength for the big race. 

With speed training there are so many ways to get faster so you just need to experiment with what works best for you and your schedule. Be sure to take time to adjust to speed training and not to run too hard too fast.  As long as you approach speed training the right way and are both patient and consistent you will definitely get faster and learn how to progress your training.

You can catch Doug hanging out at podiums after most local races, or stop by one our runs to ask him more questions!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Cross Training! What For?

Our fellow runner and resident cross trainer, Monica Boldt, explains why it's important!

Injuries, plateaus, burnouts. We’ve all heard and have been acquainted with most, if not all, of these as runners. Normal stuff, you say. Perhaps, in some degree. But what can we do to minimize the possibility of these, all the while making steady gains in our running performance? Cross-training! Ok, don't roll your eyes! Cross-training can come in different forms, tailored to the individual, and is a major injury, plateau, and burnout prevention tool.

Let’s think about it for a second. Running uses the majority of the same muscles (i.e. hip flexors, hamstrings, calves) in a continuous forward plane of motion for minutes to hours at a time. Overuse of these muscles without balancing out their counterparts (i.e. hip extensions vs. hip flexion) and varying planes of movement in the transverse and lateral field, increases the possibility for injury. Cycling, swimming, yoga, rock climbing, boxing, weightlifting, are all viable cross-training methods. Agility, balance, and strength work are super important in increasing running efficiency and injury prevention. Cross-training can be fun and moves you towards becoming a more well-rounded athlete. For example, taking yoga classes will challenge you to mobility and flexibility, as well as stabilization. You can quickly see how this will translate right into becoming a better runner.

If you're running to lose weight, beat that 5k time, or improve your ease in running, you may think beating the pavement day after day is the key. Often times, the better strategy is less running and incorporating cross-training with an emphasis on resistance training. Pick up some weights and work on compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, cleans and presses, step ups, and push and pull movements. Full body exercises. Your body will plateau with running if that’s all you do. A couple days of added strength work will help change the shape of your body, add power to your stride, and prevent weight loss stagnation.

So, now there’s also the issue of burnout. A dreaded word that can halt all the gains you've made. For example, if you're a year-a-round runner, running in the extreme cold or sweltering heat can zap the motivation right out of you. Add daily struggles with work, relationships, etc. and the running routine can sound miserable. So change! Embrace it! Have other options for training in your bag so you can stay committed with a healthy, active lifestyle all year. This is where cross-training is a great benefit to the mind. Mixing things up keeps you engaged and is a great motivator for reaching goals. If you find you're in a very pressure-filled season in your life, perhaps pushing yourself to PR or run a marathon might not be the best stimulus for your body. When the body is already under stress, your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) is elevated and adding more physical stress from your workouts can be detrimental. This is why cross-training is also a recovery tool for times like these. Reaching for activities such as walking, yoga, or light swimming will increase the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) and bring the body back into a state of balance.

So, what did we learn? Cross-training is not an activity that takes you away or hinders you from your love of running. It is actually a tool that balances, strengthens, and continuously challenges your body so training for your next half marathon, 50k trail race, or your first sub 8min mile will not be hindered by nagging injuries, stagnation, and mental fatigue.

Monica Boldt is a Camp Gladiator trainer, personal trainer, SFG Kettle-bell instructor, and fellow runner (5K, 10K, half an full marathons). If you have questions, you can catch her occasionally at our Tuesday runs, or send her an email at mboldt.mezzo@yahoo.com.  

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Tuesday Run - Free Give-aways!

Don't forget to join us this Tuesday (August 28th), for our run. We will be raffling off two passes to Rahr Brewery.

A representative will also be there from the Fort Worth Runner's Club, and they will be signing people up at a discounted rate for th FWRC Labor Day 5K Race. The race is great, and comes complete with all you can eat hot dogs and beer for all participants, as well as a DJ after the race for everyone to enjoy.

Stop by and take advantage of these specials, as well as enjoying a run and beer with some great folks!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Hello Runners!

Sorry for the long vacation we've taken online. Again, for those that have stopped on by, we always meet on Tuesdays at Chimy's at 6:30pm for a 3 mile run. (Drinks after!)

That said, the new leadership team is trying to be more active with our website. We will be trying to provide more contact.

Here are a few things to check out soon:

1. Cross-training articles
2. Speed Exercises
3. Recovery technique blogs

We  hope these posts will keep people coming back, and our goal is to make the content weekly.

Scenery Change! We are also thinking of choosing a new place to congregate. We're working to make this happen and hopefully will have an announcement soon! It is going to be great!

In the meantime, keep coming by and go for a run, meet some people, and stick around after for good beer and conversation!

-The Run Crew!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Our 5K "Guess You Pace" Race is approaching!

To Celebrate having over 100 total runs, we are bringing back the "Guess Your Pace" 5K. Participants will guess their time upon check in, and the person closest to their predicted time wins the race. (No electronics will be allowed on the course to allow for a true guess on one's time). We will have one main clock at the start and finish that will provide the official time.Chimy’s will be providing the great atmosphere afterward with the Marfa Room specifically reserved for our participants.
Well besides getting to hang out with all your other fellow runners: prizes will include gift cards to Luke's Locker, Chimys, and a pair of Lexus Club level tickets to an upcoming Texas Rangers baseball game.
Before May 1 - $10 dollars (plus surcharge if using event bright or paying by credit card)
After May 1 - $15 dollars (plus surcharges)
There are multiple ways to register:
1. Register using Event Bright, ( surcharge applies)
2. You may pay via paypal by sending $10 dollars to: roasas23@gmail.com or pay in cash the day of the event
3. You may pay via cash or credit card at each of our social runs at Chimy's every Tuesday at 6:30pm.
All money raised will be donated to the Cook Children’s Foundation. They will be there at the race also to answer any question you may have about their great organization. Chimy's has also graciously pledged to match all the money we raise!
You’ll have a few social runs between now and then to get your time down and get an idea! Come out and join us to run the course each Tuesday at 6:30.
Such a Great Time with these runners on our St Patty's Day Run a few weeks ago! Great stuff.

If you all haven't joined us lately, this is pretty much the best time to run. Temperatures have been holding in the 60s and 70s. We only have a few more weeks of this! See ya'll next Tuesday at 6:30pm! 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Social Running Invasion!!

Ah winter is upon us: the crisp air, the chilly temperatures, the low humidity...alright well maybe not this weekend. It was damn near 80 degrees. It was hot enough to see a bunch of runners out on the trail in shorts! It got me thinking that spring really isn't too far down the road, and with that, comes more days like this to get out and run.

Regardless of the weather, many runners will say that running is better when you run with friends. What better way to motivate yourself than talking with a few buddies as you push for that last mile, and it's easier to go grab a well deserved beer after finishing when ya got a running buddy to join you at the bar.

That idea is probably what has sparked the explosion of social running groups throughout Fort Worth lately. In the past year, so  many of them have started it's hard to keep track. Some run in the morning,some run in the evening, some both and some the weekend. I decide to give a brief description of each along with when and where they all meet, so that no matter when you decide to run, you can always meet up with folks who you can convince to join you  for a conversation or drink after you're done.

SOCIAL RUNNING (www.socialruns.com) Wednesdays @ 7:00 pm

Social Running (SR) is a group that's been active for a few years now. They are a great organization that caters towards runners of all paces. It started off as a group of runners that  began running together, and it quickly transformed into a network of a huge group of runners. Their website explains that SR encourages high-fives, mingling, and sharing ideas. They run for different reasons but come together for two common things: running and socializing.

They group meets up at the Clear Fork Food Track Park off of Merrimac Circle. Usually they have a core group of regulars, and a big group of people that seem to rotate in and out.  The last time I went, there were many people that were there who had just moved into town. It's a great place to meet new runners, but I would go on a nice day when the weather is great. They food truck park doesn't have much protection from the elements, so most people tend to high-tail it on bad days, making it difficult to meet new runners. Their course is a 4 mile loop course that runs through Trinity Park.

FORT WORTH RUNNING COMPANY (Mondays @ 7:00pm, 2401 West 7th Street)

Fort Worth Running Company has a group that started running on Monday evenings. I guess they wanted to get in on the social run craze. It's a small but dedicated group that usually  runs at a faster pace than your average runner. They are still fairly social though and will gladly welcome new runners, even if they are slower than an average pace of 10 minutes per mile (what I consider the threshold between casual running and seasoned runners). Their route starts from their store, running on the Trinity Trails, mostly through Trinity park. Their course is an out and back, usually around 3 miles. I believe they congregate at Barcadia after their runs for a few "BEvERages".

LUKES LOCKER (Tuesdays and Thursdays @ 6:00am, multiple locations)

Lukes Locker was the social run group that I originally started running with in the mornings. This group has by far the most elite runners of any of the other groups in my humble opinion. They meet in the mornings, also like clockwork, no matter the weather conditions (except for lightning).  This group is usually very fast, so you have to keep up, or there really won't be many people around to be social with. Unlike most of the other social run groups, this group runs a 6 mile course. The one I usually run with is off of ist 7th Street. They run and out and back on  Tuesdays, and then a "hills" loop on Thursdays.

They beauty of becoming a regular with Lukes is that you actually get a discount when you shop at their stores. I'm not sure if it varies from store to store, but at the one I go to, it's 10% which is nice when you're buying $100 shoes.

Hash House Harriers (http://dfwhhh.org) (Varies depending on the club)

Hash House Harriers is probably the oddest of this group of social run clubs. There are stories about how they came to be and each one is different. They are a cross between a social hang out club, a drinking club, a running group, and an outdoor enthusiast club. They never meet in the same place two times in a row, and their runs usually have a little bit of "off road' running and hiking involved.  I don't know much about them, but the website give a pretty good description of their organization.

Lone Star Runners (www.lonestarrunners.com) or (www.rundrinkbesocial.com)
Tuesday nights @ 7pm at Chimys Restaurant.

Well, we finally arrived at our social run group, Lone Star Runners of Cowtown. I won't elaborate much on our group, as the website "about us" section pretty much gives a good description.  I will say a few things though.  I know I am biased, but I believe our group actually has the best camaraderie of all of the groups. We always hang out after our runs and sit together and include everyone in the conversation. Chimy's also provides a great location, because regardless of the weather, we are always protected from the elements. Unlike the other groups, we have rendezvous point just in case the weather turns bad. Regardless of the weather, we'll still meet for the social aspect of our motto, and we normally stay socializing for over an hour after the end of our run.

I encourage one to check out all of these social run groups and see which one has a vibe that clicks with what you are looking for in a social run club. Regardless of where you go, you can bet on one thing: it's much better to run with friends than alone!