Training from the mile to the marathon.
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  • Group Run this Saturday

    Posted on April 23rd, 2013 CoachGreg No comments

    meadow-webWe’ll resume group runs this Saturday, April 27. All are welcome.

    We begin at 7 am at St. Andrew’s Church in the Old Village of Mt Pleasant. We’ll have maps for four and six mile routes. If you’re a beginner and want to run less than that, just see Coach Greg when you get there we’ll set you up. Remember, nobody gets left beyond on our runs so if you have a friend who is new to running, please bring them along.

    Upcoming Group Run Dates

    All of the group runs will begin on Saturdays at 7 am at St. Andrew’s unless otherwise indicated.

    • April 27
    • May 4 - No group run on this date as several Charleston Runs athletes will be competing individually and as relays in the Wambaw Swamp Stomp.
    • May 11
    • May 18
    • May 25
    • June 2
    • June 8 - Starts from Alhambra Hall in the Old Village at 7 am and will be led by Coach Noah Moore. (
    • June 15 - There no group run this day. Several Charleston Runs athletes will be competing in a stage race in Chattanooga.
    • June 22
    • June 29

    Are You New to Running?

    If you are new to running or have never run before and want to get started, you might consider Coach Noah’s Couch to 5K program. He has a new program beginning on Sunday, May 5.

  • Am I Ready?

    Posted on May 20th, 2012 CoachGreg No comments
    Those early morning runs make it all worth while.

    Those early morning runs make it all worth while.

    Every runner who has the completion of a marathon on their bucket list needs to ask the question, “Am I ready?” In my experience there are 237 things that need to be present in order for you to succesfully complete your first marathon but I’ve distilled it down to just a few things.


    I figured this one out first hand and in a very painful way. Any runner training for a marathon ideally should have been running consistently for a year. You not only need leg strength and a modicum of leg speed to successfully train, your body also needs to make many adaptations all the way down to the cellular level.

    In 2007, I signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon. In November 2006, I ran my first 5K and when I signed up in April for the marathon, I had never run further than 5 miles. By September I was injured and on marathon weekend, I was recovering from knee surgery. I eventually finished the race in 2008 and ran it again in 2010.


    Experience isn’t enough; you need to consistently put mileage on your legs. If you are running 2-3 miles, 2-3 times each week, and jump into a 12-16 week training program, you run the same risk of injury as someone with just a few months of running under the belt. My suggestion is that your weekly mileage should be at least 15 miles/week and that you have worked up to a long run of 8 miles. 20+ miles and a long run of 10 would be better.


    Training takes time. During the summer, our group long runs start as early as 5 am to beat the heat. As you go longer, you will be weary when you’re done. You might be showered, have eaten breakfast, and joined your family again by 9 am but you may not have the energy that you normally possess. So, not only will you need the training time, your body also needs recovery time. You might find that some non-essential household projects end up on hold while you’re training.


    This is the number one thing needed to successfully complete the training and the race. Overall, that motivation needs to come from something inside of you. You must want to knock this out. You can’t do it because somebody else wants you to do it.

    During the course of training, motivation can come from many different areas of your life and a marathon training group can be a part of that. The Runner Dude points out that there’s nothing more motivating that to have a group cheering you on at the end of a 20-mile run. When you’re not feeling it, knowing that others are meeting your for a run can do a lot to get you out of the bed and on the road in the morning.

    Group Marathon and Half-Marathon Training

    Our Marathon Training Group begins July 7. We have a wide variety of runners that train with us. Some are first-time marathoners. Some are chasing Boston qualifying times. All are committed to working hard and encouraging others along the way.

    You are invited to join us.

  • Ready to Race

    Posted on June 12th, 2009 CoachGreg No comments
    You'll never beat the summer heat in the Lowcountry but you can alleviate some of the effects by doing track workouts early in the morning.

    You'll never beat the summer heat in the Lowcountry but you can alleviate some of the effects by doing track workouts early in the morning.

    We have four runners who all doing the Floppin Flounder Race tomorrow on Sullivans Island. Today’s workout was all about preparing for the race. Some might argue that to be truly primed for a PR, that the runner needs to take the day off. I wouldn’t disagree but I also would argue that you can’t run every race for a PR so today we simply worked on maintaining pace and feeling the pace so the runner knows what that feels like the next day.

    Every runner starts with an 800m warm up and ends with an 800m cool down.

    Group 1 - all repeats are at race pace

    • 2 x 400
    • 2 x 800
    • 2 x 1200
    • 2 x 400

    The athlete starts his next repeat when his heart rate falls below 120 in order to give him time for a more complete recovery. This is a passive recovery time. If he is not within 2 seconds of his split time on the first set of 400’s then he continues to do 400’s until he can nail that pace.

    Group 2 - The second group is working on maintaining intensity at their new 5K pace.

    2 x 2000m at race pace - Recovery=800m split time

    This workout lasts about the same amount of time as it should take the athlete to run 4800 meters but there is a break thrown in there for recovery. This is not a workout that I normally recommend the day before a race but the runner showed up and found that others were racing tomorrow and decided he wanted to race as well but also wanted to do this workout.

    We closed out the session by doing 100m repeats for form. A camera is very helpful to be able to show the athlete where he can improve.

  • Friday Track Workout

    Posted on June 5th, 2009 CoachGreg No comments
    • 800 m Warm-up
    • 6 x 200, 100 recovery
    • 6 x 300, 200 R
    • 5 x 400, 300 R
    • 800 m cool down

    Each athlete ran between 15 and 25 seconds faster than their 5K pace. The intensity of the workout strengthens the runner, making him or her faster. Stamina at speed is built by the amount of time each athlete runs at speed. When the runner can complete the workout at the proscribed pace, they run the next workout (in two weeks) at a faster pace.

  • Ready to Race?

    Posted on May 29th, 2009 CoachGreg No comments

    One athlete on the track this morning. Even though I have five runners who regularly do track workouts, only one was able to be there this morning. That’s good for him because he gets my full attention for an hour.

    Today’s workout was to dial in the pace for tomorrow evening’s 5K.

    • 800m warm-up
    • 2 x 400 m
    • 2 x 800 m
    • 2 x 1200 m
    • 2 x 400 m
    • 800 m cool down
    • Recovery - HR<120

    All of the repeats were done at race pace. The athlete was able to hit his pace until he got to the 1200 repeats. At first I thought it was because I had him running too fast but he was immediately able to nail his pace for the last two repeats. I think it had more to do with the mental part of it. We do these drills so that we learn to listen to what our body is saying. The runners needs to listen to the body and remember what that pace feels like. He needs to feel the slow accumulation of lactate in his legs. He needs to feel what the breathing feels like. The runner must gain a sense of what the body goes through when it’s being pushed to the brink of failure.

    Run at the red line and then beyond when racing a 5K.

  • 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.

  • Track Workout

    Posted on May 22nd, 2009 CoachGreg No comments

    This is a track workout that is good for almost every runner. One size never fits all and anybody just starting with track workouts should approach things cautiously. All of the Charleston Runs athletes doing this workout have been running consistently for at least two years and have been racing for at least one year.

    I start every athlete at a pace that is 15 seconds per mile faster than their 5K pace. As runners get used to this workout, I speed up their workout in subsequent weeks.

    The recovery interval should take just as long as the effort. For instance, if the runner does a 55 second 200 m, then they should take 55 seconds to recover during the 100 m. At first this was  difficult for the runners but by the time they’re doing the 400 m, they’re happy to take all of the time allotted. The workout should be continuous - effort - recovery - effort with no breaks.

    Today’s workout

    • 800 m warm-up
    • 6 x 200 m, 100 m recovery
    • 6 x 300 m, 200 m recovery
    • 6 x 400 m, 300 m recovery
    • 1 x 400 m, all out
    • 800 m cool down
  • Do You Need a Coach?

    Posted on May 17th, 2009 CoachGreg No comments

    The NY Times recently explored the topic of how coaching can help athletes of all abilities.

    …training, if done right, is the ultimate performance enhancer, with effects that can dwarf those of illegal drugs, like the blood-boosting drug EPO, as well as legal stimulants like caffeine. Still, it seems, too few amateur athletes take it seriously and fewer still do it right. Exercise physiologists and coaches say most people who want to run, swim, cycle or row faster or improve in almost any sport do not appreciate what can be accomplished with training nor how to do it.

    Read it all.

  • Hell Hole Swamp 10K Gator Run

    Posted on May 4th, 2009 CoachGreg No comments

    I’m sad to say that my athlete didn’t do as well as we expected. The day was not hot and there were about 100 people in the field. There were three things that contributed to not meeting his goal time of 50 minutes.

    • Road Surface - 4 of the 6.2 miles were run on dirt/gravel roads. Maintaining a smooth stride is not possible.
    • Preparation - As a coach, I didn’t have the athlete running as fast as maybe I should have. However, I don’t push athletes beyond a level that hasn’t been demonstrated.
    • Pacing - The athlete started out running a 7.45 first mile and his goal was an 8 minute mile. He never really recovered and wasn’t able to adjust his pace adequately.

    Obviously, we can’t do anything about the road surface, it is what it is. Preparation - we’ve already begun addressing this for the next race. I’m pushing him a little faster in workouts but not so fast that he’ll break down. For me, it means carefully monitoring his workouts and races. The pacing will come with race experience. He was very excited and the field was small which meant he ran his own race most of the way.

  • More Half-Marathon Results

    Posted on April 28th, 2009 CoachGreg No comments

    My athlete training for the More Half-Marathon in NYC on April 26 didn’t record a score for the race - and neither did anybody else. The temperature at race time was 92 degrees so the organizers cancelled the full marathon and didn’t score the half-marathon. My athlete told me she crossed the start about 5 minutes after the gun and crossed the line in at 2 hours 2 minutes. And this was in the heat. She was justifiably proud of herself. She’s 52 and ready to qualify for Boston when she runs the Marine Corps Marathon in October.