The Mile Marker

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Congratulations runners! You've made it through another sweltering summer of training for a fall race and now you've arrived at the last challenge - the taper. Yes, you put in all the good work but these last few weeks are critical to showing up on race day at your best.

So here are some key Do's and Don'ts for your taper.

DO Prioritize your sleep and health. It doesn't matter if you spend all day alternating back and forth between compression boots and a cryo chamber, getting at least 8 hours of sleep (if not more) is the foundation of your recovery plan.

DON'T Try to cram in any last minute workouts. You're not going to get any fitter in these last few weeks but you can definitely lose it on an overtraining injury. There's no "magic final track work" that's going to make or break your race.

DO Mentally plan your race. When I'm on my easy runs, I love mentally navigating how I want to run on race day. My plan for pacing, when I'm fueling, how I want to tackle the...

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On Sunday, September 29, Coach Jess ran alongside 46,982 other athletes at the 2019 Berlin Marathon. Beforehand, she hosted an Ask Me Anything: Marathon Edition on our Instagram. With the Chicago and NYC Marathons quickly approaching, her tips for training, tapering, fueling, and resting are as relevant as ever. Enjoy the Q&A with Coach Jess as she dives into the last 24 hours before her race!

Q: How do you relax before race day?

A: I do an easy shakeout in the morning. Then I make sure I have everything I need and have my logistics sorted early so I don't have to figure anything out too late in the day or the morning before. Then I sped the rest of the day relaxing! It's easier for me to relax here in a hotel and I have less "to do" than being home in NYC so I am taking advantage of hotel life right now. An early dinner up next, then bed. Hope to be able to sleep but I have a lot of pre-race excitement and am bad at resting.

Q: Tips for tapering before the race?

A: 2 weeks out: last...

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Long before I became a runner, let alone run coach, I was a Run Hater. The only thing I found more pointless than running was running in place on a treadmill, going nowhere, like a masochistic hamster on a wheel.

Let’s just say I’ve come a long way.

I came to running later than most of my run coach contemporaries. Mile High Run Club boasts a coaching staff of those who were high school and college stars as well as professional athletes. Most of them had a complete and accomplished career before I had ever run farther than a mile — and I only did that because the gym teacher made me. Doing a complete 180 on the whole running thing was like going on a first date with your high school nemesis, but it turns out they’re really sweet and asks you lots of questions about yourself. Not a perfect analogy but you get it.

Listen, running is hard, I get why people think they don’t like running. But I’ll never forget the first run I did where I experienced that thing I’d once heard about but didn’t know actually existed: the Runner’s High. I was hooked. A full-on junkie. I...

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We’ve all been there. You are midway through an interval, workout, or run and suddenly your thoughts start running wild. You begin to doubt your mind and body and if you don’t snap yourself out of these negative internal thoughts, it becomes hard to push yourself and in the worse-case-scenario, you drop out before the end of your intended session.

What I’ve found to be the most interesting part of becoming a coach at Mile High Run Club is that I have had to learn cues to snap my runners out of these mental downward spirals. Of course, a simple positive cheer can help many people blow through those proverbial “yellow lights” to regain an uninterrupted mental focus, but sometimes it takes more than that.

As a coach, I’ve learned that physical cues are the most helpful in relaxing our minds and bodies, and therefore getting us to push through rough points. By giving your mind a chance to focus on and take control of something else, we leave behind the more abstract concepts of how you feel in a given moment and instead focus on a very physical feeling. For example, as...

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As a coach at Mile High Run Club, I’ve started to hear one question come up a lot: “Do I need to warm up for my warm up?” In those minutes before class starts or as people congregate outside to begin a run, I notice runners looking around nervously. They watch their friends and fellow-runners stretching, hopping, or jogging before the day’s work has even begun, so they start to wonder what’s the best way to prepare for the day’s session.

To start, everyone’s pre-run routine is different. Through some trial and error, though, you can begin to create a system that works best for you. Here are some tips and tricks to help your body feel ready to go before the run has even begun.

Mobility:

First things first, I like to start all training with joint activation. Running is high-impact, so doing some dynamic movement pre-run helps to loosen up your joints and prepare your body for some pounding. This mobility segment can include ankle, knee, and hip circles to loosen your joints.

Stretching:

After mobility, do a quick body...

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Running a marathon is exciting. There’s a certain thrill that comes with setting a big goal or pushing further than you’ve ever gone before. Maybe you get to travel to a different state or country. Maybe you’re staying local but experiencing the city in a totally new way. The potential in 26.2 miles is so much more than just the distance—and the carb-loading is equally limitless (in my opinion, the best part).

Training for a marathon is… less exciting. If you’ve done it, you know: the early mornings, earlier nights, long miles, insatiable hunger and overall fatigue that sets in with too many weeks left to go. The human body is incredible, but it’s not invincible. As I lined up for the Reykjavik Marathon not too long ago, I wondered for the hundredth time whether my training was enough. If all of those slow, easy miles would somehow translate to a fast race. It seemed like a stretch, but at that point, there wasn’t anything I could do. The gun went off and so did I.

Spoiler alert: I hit my goal time. Didn’t hit “the wall.” Qualified for Boston. Ran a negative split...

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Fart-wha?

Ever heard our coaches use the term Fartlek and have no idea what it means? Or inwardly groaned when a Coach tells you that the workout for today's class is going to be repeats? In this week’s blog, Coaches Matt, Tim and Yusuf breakdown the different running terminology you might hear, explain how and why the specific workouts we do in class help improve your running and even provide workouts for you to try on your own!

FARTLEK: Coach Matt (@matthewlukemeyer)

Fartleks! No only fun to say, but a fun way to get some fitness. A Swedish word for speed play, it really focuses on keeping PLAY part of the workout by going back and forth between harder efforts and easy jogging recovery. It can be structured (ex: 3:00 hard effort / 3:00 easy effort) or unstructured (ex: run hard in between every other stoplight). So if you feel like you've been tied down recently by intervals on the track, this is a great choice.

Fartleks are a key part of any...

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It’s speed day!!! What now? We like to go fast, but how fast?

If I’m not first, am I really last? (Thanks Ricky Bobby). Speed work, at its core, is all about running faster, for a much shorter distance, usually in an interval format. You focus on great running form, and tap into those energy systems that you might not use in your other training runs. It burns, it hurts, and you come face to face with yourself several times over. It’s essential because training for a higher speed threshold can contribute to faster, more effective training runs, which in turn contribute to...yup, PR’s!!!

Soooo speedwork is (run it by me again)....?

Simply put, its running lower volume intervals, at a higher intensity usually at or right below your VO2max. Instead of sending you down a google search black hole of calculations for your VO2max, just think of it as close to parallel to your heart rate. That number that we’re looking for is around 90% of your max heart rate. As a ripe old 32 year old, my max heart rate sits at 188 bpm ( 220-age). 90%...

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Greetings, one and all! Coach Ryan here.

On behalf of Mile High Run Club, and our kickass community of runners and athletes, it is my honor and pleasure to be writing the inaugural Coaches Newsletter. It will cover everything under the sun, from running and fitness tips, news and updates on local events, insights on training and nutrition, and whatever else we believe will help you SMASH your goals and be your fullest self.

We are a community built around the idea that health is wealth, and we want to make you filthy rich! So join us as we explore the wide world of fitness and wellness, and let us be your sherpa!

First things first. The most important question to ponder — Why?

Why do you practice? Why do you run? Why do you eat healthily? Why not?!

It’s important because most of us want a deep sense of purpose and passion in our daily lives. We want to feel like our words and actions are intentional, thoughtful, and packed with meaning. Of course, sometimes all we feel is stress and anxiety, as though it’s a constant grind to keep our ship on...

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Something so simple, yet often overlooked...

Take a big, conscious inhale in. And release.

It's not often we think about our breath but it's one of the simplest ways to improve our run! With a few quick exercises, you can gain confidence, improve efficiency, promote balance and strength, and reduce fatigue.

  • Finding balance with your breath is as easy as staying aware of it; change your focus from to-do lists, music lyrics, random thoughts, or work emails to your body's natural rhythm of inhale-exhale.

  • As you run, matching your breath to your footstrike helps the brain and body work together to find balance.

  • Try a rhythm of three steps in, two steps out at slower speeds, and two in, two out for faster speeds.

  • Letting the mind wander is OK, but always coming back to the breath will help the mind and body connect.

Not running right away? Try it as you walk around your office or around the city!

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