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!