Training from the mile to the marathon.
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  • What’s Your Pace?

    Posted on May 10th, 2011 CoachGreg No comments

    This week our run will be a little different. It’s usually a loop or out and back but this week, it’s point to point. We’ll start at St. Andrew’s Church and end at On the Run on Houston Northcutt. Coach Brian Johnson is leading a running clinic at the store at 8 am on Finding Your Pace. The clinic is free for Charleston Running Club members; all others pay just $5.

  • Going a little farther

    Posted on April 21st, 2011 CoachGreg No comments

    Anywhere from 3-20 people have joined me on Saturday morning runs. Seems like we have a good group of 8-12 which actually makes for a variety of paces. Some choose not to run the entire distance. Some enjoy running with others. Others enjoy running by themselves but like the accountability of meeting a group. Anybody is welcome to join in. We meet at 7 am on Saturday morning at St. Andrew’s Church.

    This week’s run is 8 miles. The turnaround is at the entrance to the beach at Station 22 1/2.

  • Saturday Run

    Posted on April 6th, 2011 CoachGreg No comments

    I’m putting together a group run that meets on Saturday mornings. For some, it will be an opportunity to lay in a solid base for marathon training for the fall and winter marathons. For others, it’s a great way to get outside and enjoy running on the weekend. Others just like running with a group. Any are welcome to join us. We meet at 6.45 for a 7 am start at St. Andrew’s Church in Mt. Pleasant. Please email me if you’re coming ( and I’ll add you to my mailing list.

  • Age Group Aces

    Posted on February 27th, 2011 CoachGreg No comments
    Michael Barfield, Noah Moore, Cathy Rubinstein, Anne Powell. All four completed marathons in the fall and now all are training for the Bulldog Challenge.

    Michael Barfield, Noah Moore, Cathy Rubinstein, Anne Powell - All four did fall marathons, some more than one, and all are now training for the Bulldog Challenge.

    Recently, three of the Charleston Runs athletes placed well in the MESSA 8K. Anne Powell placed second among the women, first in her age group, and 11th overall out of a field of 200. Congratulations also to her training partners - Cathy Rubinstein, who placed first in her age group, and Noah Moore, who placed third in his age group. Well done!

    I’m resolving to get back to posting on a regular basis. Marathon training during the summer was made things very busy for myself and those who were training with me. I trained for and ran the Marine Corps Marathon. I had other runners that did marathons in New York, Greenville, South Carolina, Richmond, Virginia, and Indianapolis. Many of them went on to train for the Kiawah Marathon and Half Marathon as well as the inaugural Charleston Marathon and Half Marathon. Noah Moore ran marathons in Indianapolis, Las Vegas, and Charleston between November and January. He’s got a sickness.

    Right after the first of the year, we all began training for the Cooper River Bridge Run. I have seven folks training with me for the year’s biggest 10K, two of them for the first time. Three of them, pictured above, are also training for the Bulldog Challenge on March 12, in addition to the Bridge Run.

    What are you training for?

  • Why Run the Bridge?

    Posted on July 20th, 2010 CoachGreg 1 comment

    I was recently in the mountains of North Carolina. I was at an elevation of 3300 feet and while the weather was cool, I really didn’t appreciate running the hills. My runs started out going downhill on a very steep grade which meant I finished by going uphill on the same steep grades. That was tough but I can’t imagine how much tougher it would have been had I not been running the Cooper River Bridge on a regular basis.

    Charleston Runs athletes on the Cooper River Bridge.

    Charleston Runs athletes on the Cooper River Bridge.

    Charleston Runs athletes regularly run the Ravenel Bridge even when they’re not training for the Cooper River Bridge Run. As runners become more experienced, they tend to want to go faster. In order to run faster in a race, you need to run faster in training. There’s a running adage that says, “Speed is built on strength and strength is built on endurance.” In other words, build your endurance, then build your leg strength, and then finally work on speed.

    One of the best ways to build leg strength is through running hills. The closest thing to a hill that we have in Charleston is the Cooper River Bridge. In training for marathons, we run the bridge once every two weeks. This does two things for us.

    • We build leg strength. By running uphill we’re lifting our bodies vertically and then slowing the body as we run downhill.
    • We practice running hills. All of the Charleston Runs athletes are running marathons in other places where there are hills. There are techniques to running both uphill and downhill that will improve your times and keep you from thrashing your legs.

    You race like you train. What do you do to prepare to run hills or improve your leg strength?

  • The 50-Mile Experiment

    Posted on July 18th, 2010 CoachGreg No comments
    Noah finishes 50 miles.

    Noah finishes 50 miles.

    On July 4, one my athletes, Noah Moore, completed the Qu’est-ce que c’est? 12-Hour Run. Noah has made some remarkable progress in the last few years, having lost nearly 100 pounds and turning into an accomplished runner. I love working with Noah. His enthusiasm is contagious, infecting those around him. This enthusiasm has also changed his family’s approach to health and fitness.

    When running his marathons, Noah has struggled with finishing well. He starts out great and by the time he hits 20 miles, he’s crumbling. We started our coach-athlete relationship as he was tapering for his first marathon. He was very dissappointed in how he finished the race. His refueling was good - he just cramped badly in the final miles of the race. The same thing happened to him in the 2009 Marine Corps Marathon.

    As we began looking at training for this year’s Monumental Marathon in November, we reviewed last year’s training and racing. We agreed that our plan of attack would include several 20+ mile runs. Noah recovers well and I felt that going the longer distances would not only help improve his time but that his body would also adapt well to going longer. Now, as a result of his 50-mile run, I think he’ll finish faster but that going longer will only help minimally in the cramping department.

    Every runner is an experiment of one and Noah is no different. We talked through a plan for his 50-miler that included fueling and hydration. I couldn’t crew for him the whole day but he did have someone there in the morning while I was a work. He had everything in place. I met him before the race, snapped some photos and headed to work with a plan to return that afternoon.

    When I returned, Noah was past the marathon mark, at mile 27 or 28. When he came through the checkpoint (The run course was a one-mile loop.), he was not in great shape. I could tell he was having problems forming thoughts - he was a bit goofy. As he took off for the next loop, I started asking his crew about what he had been eating, his rest, and his hydration. Based on that information, I was certain he had not been drinking enough.

    Next time Noah came through, I took his water bottle and filled it 3/4 full of Bana and topped it with Powerade. I made him stop long enough to drink about 2/3 of the bottle and then sent him out again. The next time in, I made the same concoction and this time made him sit down. I told him he couldn’t go out again and until he drank most of the bottle. When he finished half the bottle, I topped it off and sent him out again. By the time he came back, I could tell he was feeling much better. Noah later admitted that, in his delirium, he thought I was trying to drown him. Seriously. Dehydration can really do you in - people talk about the physical aspects but when you’re losing electrolytes as well, you don’t think properly and muscles don’t work well.

    By the time Noah finished 31 miles (50K), his family had arrived and he had made a 180 degree turn around. He was lucid and feeling good. He was weary but wasn’t cramping. From that point forward, Jen, his wife, Peyton, his son, and I worked together to ensure he was staying well hydrated. He eventually finished 50 miles by the cutoff time.

    The following week we reviewed some of the things we learned. I made mention that in the Marine Corps Marathon that I drank at least one cup of water and one cup of Powerade at each water stop. He admitted that he did not drink at every stop and only drank two cups at a couple of the stops. We have similar sweat rates in the early morning heat and humidity - about 64 ounces in an hour. Folks who sweat heavily cannot replace everything they lose in an hour, so having a good hydration plan is essential.

    We also realized we would have never learned that it was electrolytes and hydration that was the issue in his marathons. Only when he recovered quickly once he started drinking well did we learn what the real culprit was in the poor finish in the marathon.

    Lessons Learned

    • Create a hydration and fueling plan.
    • Follow the plan. Don’t abandon the plan because you start out well.
    • Account for fuel, fluid, and electrolyte loss.
    • Practice the plan. You need to know what works.
  • Marathon and Post-Marathon Report

    Posted on November 27th, 2009 CoachGreg 1 comment
    Charleston Runs Marathoners

    Charleston Runs Marathoners - We missed a few at our post-race dinner.

    Everybody at Charleston Runs arrived at the start line healthy. We did have one runner with a nagging knee issue but she was able to complete her training. Some of our athletes ran much faster than they expected; some were dissappointed with their performance. I’ve spent time with most of them, reviewing their training and what we might do differently the next time. All had a great experience and all are looking at the future.

    Yesterday, a few of them did the Turkey Day run here in Charleston. One of them set a new personal record for the 5K distance. This was after a month of standing down, no track workouts, and even multiple days off. Amazing what recovery can do for you!

  • Charleston Run’s Noah Moore on Live5

    Posted on October 20th, 2009 CoachGreg No comments

    Noah Moore appeared on WCSC Channel 5 and talked about why he’s running the Marine Corps Marathon. Great job, Noah! If you’re reading this as a note on Facebook, click on ‘View Original Post’ to see the video at (Give the video a few seconds to load.)

  • Are You Piling On?

    Posted on October 6th, 2009 CoachGreg No comments

    toomuchstuffThe last 21 days of marathon training are critical. As Charleston Runs athletes approach the Marine Corps Marathon, they need to keep careful track of their training and how they’re progressing. We cutting miles but we’re not cutting back on effort.

    I’ve put together a one-page document that might help you track your taper. On each day, write down your workout, mark whether it was an easy, medium, or hard effort. Also keep track of your food using the categories poor, ok, or great. Visually look and see if you’re piling hard effort on top of hard effort. Check to see if you’re eating junk for days on end. Only you will see this so be honest and use what you’re learning to make adjustments.

    One more thing - SLEEP. It does a body good. You are in the rest, recovery, and restoration phase. Each week, you should go to bed 30 minutes earlier than you did the week before. If 10 pm is your normal bedtime, then by the time the marathon is here, you should have been retiring at 8.30 for a week. Yes, life gets in the way but you’ve spent the last four months or more diligently preparing for this race. Don’t let the lack of sleep and recovery slow you down.

  • THE Long Run

    Posted on October 2nd, 2009 CoachGreg No comments

    For months we’ve been preparing for the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of the month. One last long run and we start our taper. Tomorrow we’ll run 12 miles, do the Isle of Palms Connector 10K and then run 2 more cool down miles. Our speedsters may go a little further. They will check in at the end of the 10K and I’ll see how they’re doing.

    We did have one runner who strained her back this morning. It’s happened to her before but she’s such great athlete that she still wants to get the 20-miler in. Most runners started building to the marathon in July. Charleston Runs athletes went through a few months of base and strength building before then - about 8-10 weeks worth, depending on when they joined the program.

    That big base has enabled them to do hard tempo runs in the heat on one day and knock out a track workout the next day. My number goal with my athletes is to get them to the start line healthy. That big base will also get my runner to the start line without doing a 20-mile run before the race. She’s ready to race today.