Training from the mile to the marathon.
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  • WCIV Channel 4 Profiles Bridge Runners

    Posted on March 22nd, 2010 CoachGreg No comments

    If your browser won’t display the video, you can find it here:

  • Baby, It’s Cold Outside

    Posted on December 20th, 2009 CoachGreg No comments

    winter_running1Even though we didn’t get hit with snow like they did further north, the weather in Charleston has certainly changed. Yes, it will be nearly 70 on Christmas Day but we have entered the 74 days that pass for Winter in the Lowcountry.

    When that alarm clock rings first thing in the morning and it’s 35 out, it’s tough to get up and get going. Weather changes will do that to you.  However, if you want to do more than just finish the Cooper River Bridge Run this year, you need to begin training and hit the roads in January. It will set the tone for the rest of your racing season. (I would consider the local winter/spring season to be from the last Saturday in January to the first Saturday in June - roughly from the Charlie Post Classic to the Floppin Flounder, and the highlight of course being the Bridge Run.)

    Make the plan the night before. Don’t leave things to how you feel in the morning. Once you get out and get going once or twice when it’s cold or raining, you won’t even think about it next time. Dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer than it is and you might even consider warming up on a treadmill or by doing some high knees before you head outside.

    I’ve never worn more than a long sleeve top and a long sleeve jacket on the top and cool weather running pants on the bottom. You can wear warmer clothes but you generally don’t need them once you get going. I do keep a heavy sweathshirt in the truck for when I get done.

    Hats and gloves are essential - If you’re too warm, you can take them off and easily carry them. This is also the place where you can not spend a ton of money and get some clothes that are highly reflective.

  • Big Hairy Goals

    Posted on December 13th, 2009 CoachGreg No comments
    Are you ready for Cooper River Bridge Run Training?

    Are you ready for Cooper River Bridge Run Training?

    I love big hairy goals - the ones that are so monstrous that they can be downright scary. Besides tackling them myself, I love helping others attain theirs. A new athlete, David, contacted me a few months ago after looking at the Charleston Running Club’s website. He saw I was coaching our Couch to 5K clinic and decided he wanted to take part.

    Couch to 5K is not a big deal for most people but David was and is a big guy. He decided it was time to take off the excess weight. By the time I met him in the beginning of November, he had already dropped over 30 pounds. As of this week, he’s dropped 61 pounds. And he is still a big guy and has a long way to go.

    One of the things he shared with me is that he wanted to do the Cooper River Bridge Run and he wanted to raise money for the YMCA in his hometown for a program that gets kids active. I understand that feeling. David wanted to time himself at the beginning of his training and compare it to his actual bridge run time. Yesterday morning, we set out to see what his benchmark was.

    We couldn’t have picked many mornings that would have been colder. My friend Steve and I parked our cars downtown and then had my friend, Allan, drive us to Mt Pleasant. We met David and started towards Charleston. He started out very quickly and didn’t run very far before he started walking. We talked some more about pace and what that should feel like. At one point, coming off of the bridge and into Charleston, he ran for over 15 minutes - the longest such period of continuous running since David left high school. Eventually we finished the 10k in 1 hour 58 minutes and 2 seconds. He was very happy to be done and when I took him back to his car, he was on his way to buy new running shoes.

    Cooper River Bridge Run training begins January 9. More information.

  • I Love Living Here

    Posted on December 6th, 2009 CoachGreg No comments
    'Winter' in Charleston

    'Winter' in Charleston

    I love living in Charleston. Recently, I received an email from a runner in Naples, Florida who is visiting here next week. She wanted to know if there were indoor tracks available to the general public. After telling her about the one I know of I pointed out that we’re in South Carolina, not Maine. We pretty much run outdoors year round. In three years, I’ve run indoors once because of the weather - we had 2.8 inches of rain in 1.5 hours, right at the time when I would have been running.

    This week, the Charleston Running Club began a Couch to 5K program. Part of our mission is to encourage running in our community. I’m coaching the clinic, along with Irv Batten from On the Run running store. Irv has been a fixture in the Charleston running scene for over twenty years and regularly at the top of the leaderboard. Many clubs wouldn’t start a training program at the beginning of winter. Here, it’s one of the best times to run.

    I also began track workouts again after taking November off. I have one new athlete and some returning. More will join us again after the first of the year. Not only are my athletes back on the track - I am as well! We’re all looking forward to cutting down those 5K times.

    Cooper River Bridge Run training begins in January. Sign up now.

  • Marathon Long Runs

    Posted on May 23rd, 2009 CoachGreg 2 comments
    Charleston Runs athletes on the Cooper River Bridge.

    Charleston Runs athletes on the Cooper River Bridge.

    Athletes training for fall marathons should not wait until July or August to begin building mileage. Those that are contemplating a race should be working up to doing a long run of at least 10 miles every other week and should also be working up to doing at least 20 miles each week by the time they get to July 1.

    Charleston Runs runners are adding one mile to their long run every two or three weeks and will do so through June when they’ll begin adding two miles every other week. Our bodies adapt fairly quickly to the increase load of running in terms of the cardio vascular system, the pulmonary system, and the muscular system. Our bones and connective tissue don’t respond as rapidly. It takes about 90 days for the skeletal system to adapt to an increased workload. Therefore, we want to spend some time letting our bodies adapt before we get into runs beyond ten miles.

    Powering up the incline increases strength which leads to an increase in speed. The athlete on the right is displaying great form.

    Powering up the incline increases strength which leads to an increase in speed. The athlete on the right is displaying great form.

    I try to do something different during every one of our long runs. With widely varying abilities I try to throw something in that will challenge all of them. Last week it was a fast finish. The last mile was run at race pace or faster. This week, we ran across the Cooper River Bridge and threw in a few hill repeats. Many people don’t run the bridge regularly unless they’re preparing for the Cooper River Bridge Run. Running the bridge regularly as part of our long runs will prepare us for the hills we encounter in D.C.

  • Preparing for the Central Park Half Marathon

    Posted on April 10th, 2009 CoachGreg No comments

    One of my athletes is training for the Central Park Half Marathon at the end of the month. Lots of rolling hills as you go around the loop one and a half times. We don’t have that kind of terrain here. I also wanted the athlete work on hill technique and not on surging and then slowing down coming down the hills.

    She is a beginning runner and has been running consistently for about a year. She has a great sense of pace on the track and the flats and can easily hit her goal pace after just one or two laps on the track. I want to take advantage of that. She intuitively can run by feel and I want her to run by feel on the hills. Because of the lack of practice on hills this is the only way for her to consistent. She will run by even effort rather than even pace.

    That’s different than what I would do for advanced runner and different than what I would do for her if she decided to do the same race next year. In that case, we would drive 20 miles away from the coast to find rolling hills on which to practice.

    Instead, we worked on technique on the Cooper River Bridge. I had her run just a short length of the bridge up and down several times, practicing form and practicing maintaining even effort. It was a little difficult for her as the bridge can feel steep at times with a 4% grade.

  • Last Bridge Run Clinic

    Posted on April 1st, 2009 CoachGreg No comments

    For our last workout, we spent time practicing running at race pace. We ended the session with Bridge Run Trivia for race schwag.

  • Pre-Race Track Workout

    Posted on March 27th, 2009 CoachGreg No comments

    I worked with two athletes on their race pace. We ran 3 x 1200 m after an 800 warm-up. The idea is to maintain race pace even when tired but at the same time, not to wear the athlete completely out. We were a little too close to race to do that.

  • Cooper River Bridge Walk

    Posted on March 22nd, 2009 CoachGreg No comments

    We’re stil working on getting all the way across the bridge in preparation for the Cooper River Bridge Run. The athlete has been from each side of the bridge to the center of the span and back. Going all the way across will not be a problem for her.

    Any challenge in front of us that seems formidable I believe can tackled just one step at a time, in small increments. And it helps to have a trusted person alongside you. You can’t just be told that you can do it. You must see it for yourself.

  • Running While Tired

    Posted on March 19th, 2009 CoachGreg No comments

    Wednesday’s Cooper River Bridge Run training groups both did repeats on the track tonight. Tyler took his group through a series of 400m repeats and I had the beginner’s group do something similar.

    • 800m warm up
    • 400m at lactate threshold pace
    • 800m
    • 1200m
    • 400m
    • 400m all out
    • 800m cooldown.

    This was a little beyond everybody in my group - it was the first time most of them had pushed themselves to run that fast. It’s part of running faster at shorter distances and this time we made the shorter distances longer. As long as they’ve all been running consistently each week, they will all finish well.