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. (MooreOnRunning.com).
    • 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.

  • First Marathon - The Marine Corps Marathon

    Posted on November 11th, 2012 CoachGreg No comments

    The following is written by Charleston Runs athlete, Melissa Field. She decided over the summer that she would like to train with a group and a coach. Melissa and I met to chat about her experiences and goals. She is a triathlete who does pretty well for herself at the sprint distance but this was her first marathon.

    I continue to be in awe of marathoning moms.
    ~Coach Greg

    The First Marathon

    mall20400 hours, the alarm rings after some tossing and turning, listening to the pitter-patter of rain outside the bedroom window. I was relieved to get out of bed and get a move on the day. Nervous as all get out, still wondering at every twinge in my knee if I would even make it one single mile down the road that day. Almost cried and/or yelled any time someone said “good luck!”. But now it was finally, time to get ready to go! My brother got up, too, and made us coffee while we got dressed and packed up, we made our breakfasts (peanut butter on w/w bread), took ibuprofen and debated whether to walk to the metro or drive. We finally decided to drive in case it was pouring rain when we got back.
    Runners were already gathering at the metro, all discussing the weather, what fare to get on their tickets and nervously checking their drop bags. We got on a train right away and all switched at the Rosslyn station, where there were suddenly not dozens of runners, but hundreds! Despite that, we were able to get on the next train and it was just a short ride to the Pentagon station, where we were all headed. Many runners were waiting in the warmth of the station rather than heading out into the dark, but I wanted to head Coach Greg’s advice to hit the port-o-potties early and often, so we headed straight for the escalators. On the way out, I spotted fellow Charleston Runs athlete Rob and chatted with him briefly - great to see one familiar face among so many strangers that morning! Wishing each other luck, we headed on toward the huge parking lots at the Pentagon. No lines at all at the port-o-potties, which was great.
    We still had about 30 minutes before we would need to head to the starting area, so we sat around, drank some water and people watched for a while. It was breezy, cloudy and maybe 58 degrees or so, pretty perfect running weather, we thought. When the sun was up, two Osprey airplanes flew over - really exciting! We took one more bathroom break, dropped our bags and headed to the start area. It was packed out there and all of the corrals were already full. My husband walked a little further so he could start with the 4:30 group, and I started somewhere near the 5:30 group. It seemed like no time at all before the Howitzer went off and a little while later, people started shuffling forward. I forgot to check the clock when I crossed the start line, but it was probably 20 minutes after the start, I think.

    After the Howitzer

    Finally running! Wow, what a feeling - so many spectators, so much to look at! The first 3 or 4 miles started with a few hills, heading out toward the river. I used my 3:1 run/walk ratio right from the beginning. That took some discipline, but I kept reminding myself that I was in it to finish - and I didn’t want to risk ANYTHING to improve my time a few minutes.

    Right at the start, the whole road was littered with sweatshirts, gloves, hats and headbands - I saw some nice looking stuff dropped, but resisted the urge to gather anything along the run. I ran right past a Lululemon headband in hot pink!! Mile 5 was up to a bridge to cross the river, and here I took my first fuel because there was a water stop on the bridge. My plan was to fuel every 2nd water stop, which I had worked out would be about every 5 miles or so. I took gatorade at the in-between water stops. Somewhere right after the water stop I looked down at my watch and it was deader than a doornail! Arg! How did that happen on a 100% charge?? I tried all my tricks to try and get it going before just saying - who cares about the time anyway?

    I should mention that the water stops were always fun. Tons of Marines and then always other volunteers helping out, either high school kids, boy scouts, a church, young, old, everything. The Marines were fantastic overall, besides being out at the water stops. They were often standing at strategic places shouting out encouraging words, or funny sarcastic statements, I loved that. I can’t remember a single thing I heard, but I do remember laughing and enjoying it a lot.

    So far, so good, on to the loop up to the reservoir and a pretty steep hill up. I loved the Marine Corps band at the switchback playing their hymn! Up the big hill, through some nice neighborhoods and up to the reservoir, then back down. Here was where I decided to walk downhill, the first and only unscheduled walk break. I think this next part was Georgetown, which was very busy and crowded, and the wind really started to kick up a bit here. The spectators were bundled up, but temps were perfect for us. Long section under an underpass, then up the other side toward mile 10-ish and the Lincoln Memorial, if I remember correctly. Somewhere there was the food stop with oranges, which I avoided like the plague. Didn’t feel like being any stickier than I already was. I kept thinking I would use some water at a water stop to wash my hands but didn’t remember to do that the entire time.

    I watched for my family at 10, because I thought they would be there, but later found out that they didn’t make it to that spot and headed straight over to 15/16. Oh well, it gave me something to look forward to the whole time, hoping that I would see a familiar face in the crowd. The next part was down to Haynes Point, around the golf course. I knew from my coach had told me that this part would be lonelier and it could be windy - both proved true. Some nice things here were the handwritten signs - probably over 100 of them, so there was always something to read. Another were the photos, names and ages of fallen in action soldiers - chilling - followed by a line of 20 some American flags held high. Whew! So though this section was not as “fun” as the others, I loved it, too.

    Halfway Through!

    Melissa on the National Mall

    Melissa on the National Mall

    The halfway point was when I began to feel my hip a bit. I knew it probably came from favoring that bum knee of mine, but it also reminded me that … hey… I don’t feel a thing from that knee! Good news, so I think it was here at the halfway point that I finally started to think, my knee is fine today, and it’s not going to stop me!

    After this, we ran through lots of pretty streets with trees, tons of people, and I saw my family for the first time. Awesome! I had somehow managed to miss my son, older daughter and brother, but saw my sister-in-law, nephew and younger daughter. I stopped to say hi, just awesome to see familiar faces.

    On to the National Mall

    The next big section that I remember was the mall. It was very long, very crowded, bands, music, people, kids giving high-fives, just all kinds of funny things. People handing out plastic spoons of vaseline? No thanks ha ha! Onward - I think I was a little foggy here, though I felt fine, just because I got confused about what mile we were on. The next big piece I remember was the bridge of “beat the bridge” fame. There were a few shouts of joy and relief that we had made it - but I found this part to be quite a let-down. So few spectators (we were pretty spoiled by then) and just a long, grey interstate with nothing much to look at. It seemed like everyone was walking here, and I found that to be demotivating. I really felt my hip here, my quads, my feet - just kind of wanted it all to be over. I knew it was only 1 hour until the finish, though, and that thought drove me on.

    Tears at the Finish

    When I finally got off of that bridge and started to head down into Crystal City, it was a relief! I loved Crystal City! Tons of people, great music, people handing out donuts, lots of fun stuff! Loved this part! I think we must have passed mile 24 here, and all that comes after that is back to the Pentagon and over the same road where we started. The long route around the Pentagon is tough - everyone was tired, I was pooped with a capital P, but feeling mentally good, so I didn’t let the long line of runners out ahead of me get me down. I knew I would make it by then. I saw my family again between 25 and 26, but didn’t even stop - I was so close to finishing! By the time I got to that hill up to the monument, by george, I ran up it all the way. My finish line pictures look terrible, but I felt great! It was a wonderful feeling to pass that line and get lots of high fives from all the Marines there! They have the finish area down to a science, I got my medal and salute (I cried), got my picture taken, got my post-race windbreaker and food, and the next thing you know, it was all over. Whew! Chip time was 5:27:33, or 7,314 out of 10,005 women. Woo-hoo! I couldn’t be happier.

    Sore quads, calves and mostly my left hip, but basically I had an excellent race!  I never regretted not bringing my ipod, there was never a dull moment, really. Now less than a week out from the marathon, and my knee has not felt this solid and good in ages. I plan to start running tomorrow, on the 1 week anniversary of my very first marathon.

    Thank you Greg! I could not have managed without your help!

  • Race of the Month: Francis Marion Dirt Dash

    Posted on September 2nd, 2012 CoachGreg No comments

    Here at Charleston Runs, we are in the middle of our marathon training season. Our first runner ran the Oregon Wine Country Half-Marathon on September 1 and we’ll finish with the Charleston Marathon in January. We put in a lot of miles. On the road.

    This Saturday, we will all be out at the Francis Marion Dirt Dash, three races that take place on logging roads in the Francis Marion National Forest. All of our marathoners are running the Half-Marathon but we also have runners in the 5K and 12K. Most of our runners will use this as an opportunity to practice their race day routine - clothes, pre-race routine, shoes, fuel, hydration - and will use it as an opportunity to measure their fitness. Others are a bit beat up and need a break from the routine. They’ll still practice their race day routine but will run this more as a training run.

    The race director, Chad Haffa, started the race in 2010. He’s a local firefighter who had been recently introduced to running in the woods. Out of that love for running on trails, he created the Francis Marion Dirt Dash and later, Eagle Endurance, a small race company that puts on races in the booger woods.

    Chad’s enthusiasm and passion for the sport is infectious. I am connected to a lot of races and he is the only race director who continually solicits feedback from runners and adjusts things accordingly. He’s smart enough to know that he doesn’t know it all and that the sport, along with the expectations of runners, are continually evolving.

    Race Registration

    Online registration for the race is closed but you can still register at packet pick-up at TrySports (1903 Hwy 17, Mt Pleasant) on Thursday, Sept 6, noon-7 pm, and Friday, Sept. 7, noon-6 pm.

    Runner Up - Carolina Children’s Charity 8000

    Our runner up this month is the Carolina Children’s Charity 8000 Meter run. The CCC 8000 Meter benefits MUSC Children’s Hospital. They have great volunteers, most of who have children who have benefited from the services of the hospital. We like it because of the story they tell and that it’s an 8K in Hanahan - there aren’t a lot of races in Hanahan and there’s not a lot of 8K’s.

    Tell us about your favorite races.

    (The Charleston Running Club feeds our blog into their Facebook page and the opinions expressed here are only the opinions of two guys who love to run and inspire others to run. An endorsement here does not imply an endorsement by the Charleston Running Club, but it should.)

  • 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.

    Experience

    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.

    Mileage

    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.

    Time

    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.

    Motivation

    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.

  • Saturday Group Runs

    Posted on May 10th, 2012 CoachGreg No comments

    A few folks are gathering Saturday, May 12 for a group run. We’ll meet at 5:45 am for a 6 am start at St. Andrew’s Church in the Old Village of Mt Pleasant. The planned route is 9 miles and will take us to Sullivan’s Island and back. Everybody is welcome - we usually have a range of paces and many end up doing less mileage. We’ll do a few more group runs before our marathon training kicks off on July 7. Sign up for our newsletter to keep track of when we’re meeting over the next few weeks.



    Find more runs in Mt Pleasant, SC

    For those that have run with us before, please note that this not a supported run. You will need to carry your own water or obtain it while out running. There is a convenience store around the midway point of the run on the island.

  • Marine Corps Marathon Sells Out

    Posted on March 7th, 2012 CoachGreg No comments

    mcm-sell-outThe 37th Marine Corps Marathon sold out in a record two hours and forty-one minutes. That’s not a record for the MCM - that’s a record for any marathon. It was amazing to see the chatter on Facebook and Twitter about the race. If you didn’t make it in, you can still register via the charity partner program.

    Both Noah and I have been inspired by U.S. Marines to make fitness a part of our lives and both of us have run this race to honor those Marines. We’ve encouraged others who have been similarly inspired to do the same when they decide to take the step of training for a marathon. We’re very excited for our friends who have decided to run the race.

    If you’re looking for a training program, Charleston Runs comes highly recommended by our first time marathoners and our age group aces. We kick off our training for fall marathons on July 7.

  • PRs at Veterans Day Races

    Posted on November 15th, 2011 CoachGreg No comments

    Noah and Peyton at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime MuseumCongratulations to Coach Noah Moore, his son, Peyton, and to Chris Barnes on dropping their PRs (personal records) in 5K races last weekend. First up was Noah at the Run the Runway 5K at the airfield at Joint Base Charleston on Veterans Day. He dropped his PR to 22:59 - Noah said, “I was just kind of cruising along, enjoying running at the Air Force Base which is normally closed to civilains. As I came into the final stretch and saw the clock was ticking up towards 23:00, I realized I could set a new PR if picked it up.” If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll realize that Noah had run the Savannah Marathon the previous week. Read more about Noah’s race.

    At the Run for the Yorktown 5K on Saturday, the family tradition continued. Peyton Moore (8 years old) set a new PR for the 5K distance, placed third in 13 and under division, and finished his 100-mile Kids’ Ultra. Peyton started running because his dad started running and Noah does all he can to cultivate and encourage those healthy habits. You can read more about Coach Noah’s kids programs on his blog. In the future, he’ll write some more about kids’ programs and how you can encourage your children as well.

    Also, at the Run for the Yorktown, Chris Barnes shattered his 5K PR by running 18 flat, 1:10 better than his previous best. (5th overall, 1st in his age group) He seemed to be a little surprised at this but still felt great after the run. If you remember, he shattered his marathon PR by 20 minutes just two weeks previously. (3:38 - 3:18).

    As a coach, I don’t recommend racing - meaning an all out effort - within a month of a marathon. That’s a lot of stress on the body that’s still recovering from a 26 mile race. Notice that the PRs were a surprise to both athletes. They didn’t go into the race expecting to hit their best times. In fact, Noah was completely unaware about his speed until the final meters of the race. Last year, one of our other runners ran her best 5K and placed in her age group at the Race for the Cure. She was in the middle of training for the Kiawah Marathon. Again, even though she raced hard, she was surprised at how well she had done.

    Nailing the PR

    What did the runners have in common?

    Strong Runners - Each had trained consistently for at least three years and had completed multiple marathons. You don’t need to run marathons to be a strong runner but running longer miles helps a lot. If you’re training for a 5K race, you don’t run 5K each week and stop. Up the half-marathon, run beyond the distance for which you are training.

    Track Workouts - Each runner adopted a discipline of running track workouts consistently. Some athletes run track workouts as they can. Others don’t run them at all. The ones that are consistently at the top of the list are the ones who are consistently on the track, even when they know it’s going to be difficult. Ever run 5 x 2000m with minimal recovery between repeats in the middle of the summer? Noah and Chris did.

    Tempo Runs - Each of these three runners consistently do tempo runs where they combine speed and distance. They do them once each week and they push themselves. They try to run with others who won’t let them back off of the pace but at the same time they don’t run each other into the dirt.

    Disciplined - Each runner is disciplined in their approach to training. They work with a coach and at times they disagree with the coach and change what the coach gives them. As their coach, I think that’s a good thing because when they tell me what worked and what didn’t work, we both learn. Disciplined doesn’t imply rigidity but refers to what’s going on in your head. The best training plans are devised by the coach and the athlete.

  • Book #2: Daniels’ Running Formula

    Posted on March 6th, 2011 CoachGreg 1 comment

    Note: I’ve set a goal of reading a book every two weeks during 2011. I’ll review the running related books on this website and others on another blog I maintain for those who work behind the scenes in an organization: Be A Finisher.

    daniels-running-formulaRunner’s World once named Jack Daniels the World’s Best Running Coach and after reading Daniels’ Running Formula - 2nd Edition, I understand why. In the book, I’ve recognized the debt that others owe Coach Daniels. The Road Runners Club of America teaches many of the same principles as does Coach Greg McMillan.

    Coach Daniels provides programs for those running 800 meter races all the way up to the marathon but more than half of the book explains the programs and the science behind them. Certainly, any runner could pick up the book and skip right to the training program that they think is right for them. And they could slog through it but if they don’t understand the program, it’s doing things by rote. If that’s you, save yourself some money and time and go download a training program somewhere on the web.

    I’m an exercise science geek and I appreciate all of the technical explanations of  the body’s adaptation to training stress and the progression of workouts. As a coach who is always looking to learn more from other coaches about how their athletes train, this is a valuable resource but I believe it can be a valuable resource for anybody who wants to understand their training or who wish to self-coach.

    5/5 stars.

  • 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 CharlestonRuns.com. (Give the video a few seconds to load.)