Training from the mile to the marathon.
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  • 4500 Calories - Ready, Set, Go!

    Posted on November 23rd, 2011 CoachNoah No comments

    One more day till Turkey Day!Turkey Day

    I had always been so torn around this time of year. I was happy to get a chance to spend time with friends and family, but the temptations of snacking all day and overeating were almost overwhelming…

    Did you know, according to the Caloric Control Council, that the average American will consume more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving alone? This is over twice the calories needed for an average person. Most of this is from what I fear the most, snacking.

    Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with taking some time to enjoy foods that you normally avoid. In fact, I was encouraged to do this when I first started to work on my eating habits (kind of like taking a one hour vacation from the food diary).

    One thing you can do to offset the Thanksgiving Day eat fest is to start the day with a run, walk or workout. A ton of people will be doing some type of Turkey Day Run in the morning. This is an awesome way to start your day off on the right track.

    Running has helped me keep my weight in check and made holidays a lot less stressful for me and my family. I started with walking and then worked my way up to short runs and eventually to the point where I am currently.

    Have you been thinking about making a New Year’s resolution to start exercising? Why wait? Starting your resolution before the New Year is the best way to keep it after the New Year!

    The Couch to 5K Program is a great way to get started. We are starting a new C25K group on December 1. The group will meet at Colonial Lake in downtown Charleston at 6 pm on Thursday nights.

    If you’re already a runner, this is definitely not the program for you. But you may know people who see what you have accomplished and want to get started on a fitness program. This program is perfect for them. It’s program that begins with walking and running for short periods of time.

    Don’t wait to make the commitment after Thanksgiving, make it today.

    Sign up at Couch to 5K

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  • The Final Days of the Taper

    Posted on October 27th, 2011 CoachGreg No comments
    mcm2010blogAs you enter the final days of the taper before a marathon, there are some things you should be doing to ensure that you make the most of race day.


    Go to bed as early as you can each evening. That’s tough when you’re a student or have little ones underfoot but don’t waste time with inane, non-productive stuff and you’ll be able to sleep earlier than you thought. The most important night of sleep for you will be Friday for a Sunday race. Saturday night you’ll be anxious and you’re getting up early on Sunday. You can actually bank good rest.


    Eat normally. Avoid things that you know give you gastric distress. If you are truly racing this thing - if you want to get under 4 hours, then your fueling will make a difference in your speed. If you are not adequately fueled, you can’t run fast because you’ll run off of your fat stores rather than stored glycogen. Forget about carbo-loading - It’s a very exact process that may (or may not) benefit elite runners. Instead, just increase your carb intake over the next four days. One extra serving of potatoes, rice, or other starch per meal over the next few days will keep your tank topped off. Also, by increasing your carb intake, you will retain more water - a bonus if hydration is an issue for you.

    Race Day

    Hopefully, you’ve been practicing race day nutrition. Most people need between 30 and 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour of prolonged exercise. That’s 120-240 calories. Your fueling should be consistent over the course of your race. One Gu (or other supplement) and one cup of sports drink is about 160 calories - that should be your minimum caloric intake per hour. If you’re going for speed, I recommend one cup of sports drink at 2 out every 3 water stops in addition to one Gu each hour.
  • The World’s Biggest Grill

    Posted on March 7th, 2011 CoachGreg No comments

    Big Taste Grill

    Johnsonville’s Big Taste Grill
    will once again be at the Cooper River Bridge Run Finish Festival on April 2. There’s nothing like walking bleary-eyed in the dark from the Visitor’s Center parking garage to the Gaillard Auditorium to catch a bus to the race start in Mt Pleasant and being confronted by a 65 foot long grill parked on Meeting Street. It weighs 54,000 pounds and is pulled on a tractor trailer rig. Twelve grill masters make this baby sing at 2,500 bph (brats per hour). The site can bring tears to a runner’s eyes and make him sprint from start to finish and walk away with a new PR - all for the promise of a freshly grilled brat on a soft bun with mustard.

    What’s your favortie post run treat?

  • 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.
  • What do you mean when you talk about hydrating?

    Posted on June 15th, 2009 CoachGreg 1 comment



    What do you mean when you talk about hydrating? How much should I be drinking? What should I drink?


    Summer in the lowcountry is tough on marathon runners. Dehydration is when the water in your tissues is depleted below normal levels. Your performance is affected when you lose as little as 1% of your body weight. For a 150 lb man, that’s 1.5 lbs.

    Water is absolutely your best fluid to combat dehydration. The best way to tell if you’re dehydrated is to check your urine color. Here’s a good explanation of what to look for. Scroll down to see the urine color chart. (Yes, Boot Campers, I know it’s from the Army but it really is good information.)

    You can come up with a rough gauge to estimate how much you should be drinking by doing a simple sweat test.

    1. Weigh yourself with no clothes.
    2. Get dressed.
    3. Run for an hour or whatever kind of exercise your normally do.
    4. Weigh yourself again with no clothes after completely toweling off.

    If you drink anything between the weigh-ins, then you need to measure what you drank. Your weight in ounces that you lost is equal to your sweat rate in ounces/hour for that type of exercise and exercise conditions. In my case, my sweat rate for running in the middle of summer is at least 64 ounces/hour.  In Boot Camp, it’s about 30 ounces/hour when we’re indoors in the winter.

    What about sports drinks?

    Sports drinks contain lots of sugar and are useful for staying fueled during a long run but for now, stick to water. That’s what they were developed for. We’ll talk more about fueling at a later time.

    How Much Should I Drink?

    It’s not really complicated. I try to make sure I am fully hydrated before I go to bed and I drink 16-20 ounces first thing in the morning to replace what I’ve respired out overnight. During the summer, I am really vigilant about drinking water in the evening and I don’t really care if I need to use the bathroom multiple times in the middle of the night. Better that than to be dehydrated when I start out in the morning.

    I try to consume at least 28 ounces of water an hour while running if I’m running more than 90 minutes. That’s what most sources claim to be the maximum amount your body can process in that hour. After I run, I consume at least one ounce for every minute I was exercising because my sweat rate is approximately 1 oz every minute. I try to do that within the first hour after I’m done and I’ve been known to completely consume two 24 ounces bottles immediately after running.

    Coach, I have one more question: I’ve heard that cold water will cool me off quicker than tepid water. Is that true?

    Yes - but not so you would notice. The cooling effect is very minimal. However, if having your drinks cold will induce you to drink more and more often, than drink cold drinks.

  • Do You Drink Water?

    Posted on May 1st, 2009 CoachGreg No comments

    5 Days in MayAs somebody who has exercised nearly every day for the last three years, I’ve consumed a lot of water and sports drinks for recovery during that time. I can’t imagine not having clean water available to me at a moment’s notice. I whine when it’s not icey cold. Yet, for much of the world, access to clean water is impossible.

    Please join me for the first five day in May in drinking just water - and tap water at that. Take the money you save and give it to Water Missions International (WMI). WMI is a local (Charleston, SC) based non profit with worldwide impact and with national support. Learn more about them. They do remarkable work.

    Drink water. Make a donation. Save lives. It’s that simple.