Posted on April 23rd, 2013 No comments
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.
Posted on November 11th, 2012 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.
The First Marathon0400 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.
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!
Posted on May 20th, 2012 No comments
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.
Posted on May 10th, 2012 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.
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.
Posted on December 16th, 2011 No commentsThis is the third in our series of Dynamic Warm-Ups. We’ve been teaching just a few each week at our Couch to 5K program. Part 1 - Dynamic Warm Ups. Part 2 - Zombie Warm Ups.
So far in our routine we’ve awakened and activated the hip flexor, warmed up the quadriceps by putting them through a full range of motion, activated the small stabilizing muscles in the legs, and warmed up the hamstring and glutes. Backwards running and backpedaling bring power movements in to play while also getting the feet moving.
- Push with front leg
- Reach with rear leg
- Exagerate the arm motion and really throw them in front of you
The backwards run fully activates the hamstring and calf muscles with the hard push off to propel your body to the rear.
This is the same motion that a pass defender uses in football as he moves backwards from the line of scrimmage.
- Feet under hips
- Hips under shoulders
- Quick push off to the rear
Fully activates quadriceps.
By the time you get done with the eight exercises we’ve introduced so far, your heart rate should be elevated and except on the coldest days, you’ll probably be sweating a bit.
Posted on December 11th, 2011 2 comments
Last week was our first in a series of Dynamic Warm Ups for our Couch to 5K athletes. I call the next two exercises our Zombie warm up because both exercises are done with straight legs. (Why don’t zombies bend their legs?)
- Keep the legs straight and hands out front
- Snap the leg quickly forward, driving the foot towards the hands
Keep in mind that the goal is to feel the stretch in the hamstring, not to touch your hands. Your hands are simply a target. If you bend your leg in order to touch your hands, you won’t feel the stretch. Move forward for 10 yards.
Straight Leg Deadlift Walk
- Balance on one leg and keep it straight
- Lift the other leg to the rear. As the leg goes back, the torso tilts forward
- Straight line from ear to shoulder to hip to knee to ankle.
- Keep the shoulders and hips parallel to the ground
- Swing the rear leg forward and take a step and balance again
- Do five lifts on each leg
You should feel a stretch in the glutes and hamstring of the leg on which you are balanced.
Next week: Lateral Moves
Posted on December 5th, 2011 1 comment
Every time I go to a race I see people doing static stretches right before the start. Most of them are bending over and bouncing up and down as they try to stretch out the morning tightness they feel. Although many of us were taught in gym class that this was the right thing to do, its not the best way or time to stretch.
Coach Greg did a great job of showing our Coach to 5K group how to warm up muscles with Dynamic warm ups last week. The important thing is to warm up muscles with movement and to stretch warmed up muscles for flexibility.
Flexibility is key to limiting injuries. The more flexible you are the less tight you are, the less tight you are the less likely you are to have an injury.
After a nice warm up or after a run its a perfect time to work on flexibility. I showed our group these basic stretches to get them into the habit of stretching after each workout:
- Standing Hamstring Stretch: Bend forward keeping the head up and reach toward your toes. Straighten the legs and hold this position for 10-15 seconds (no bouncing)
- Standing Hamstring Stretch (crossed legs): This is just a modified standing hamstring stretch with crossed legs. Alternate each leg 10-15 seconds (no bouncing). You may not be able to reach your toes, but ultimately this is your goal.
- Standing Hip and Lower Back Stretch: Spread your legs shoulder width apart. Gently, reach down to the middle. This is a relaxed position and your weight should do the stretching for you (10-15 seconds). Move to the right (hold); then back to the middle; then to the left (hold); and back to the middle. Gently go back up (no bouncing).
- Standing Calf Stretch: One of the most important muscles to keep flexible (in regards to injury prevention) is the calf muscle. There are several variations of this stretch. Extend one leg in front of the other. Bend your front leg while keeping the back leg straight. Place your hands on your front bent leg and lower your body until you feel the stretch in your back calf muscle (10-15 seconds – no bouncing).
Posted on December 2nd, 2011 4 comments
The old school way of warming up for running was static stretching. If you’re even older than old school, you may have done some bouncing movements to stretch those muscles. Turns out that’s not the best way to warm up as static stretching may rob you of power and speed. Stretching will keep you flexible and enhance your range of motion, both of which are beneficial to the runner but it should be done after a work out when muscles are warm and ready to be stretched.
Last night at our Couch to 5K program we took our runners through four simple exercises that are the first in a series of 13 exercises designed to get you warmed and ready to run with speed and power. This is not the complete set of exercises but they are great for a beginning runner. Do each exercise for about 10 yards.
High Knee Walk
- Extend the stepping leg until the thigh is parallel to the ground
- Rise up on the toes
Wakes up the opposite hip flexor
High Knee Skip
- Rhythmic action
- Not for height or distance
- Thigh parallel to the ground
Puts hip flexors in action
- Get upright - head up
- High # of foot strikes
Fully activates hip flexor
- Heels to butt
- Start slow and build speed
- Warms up hamstring and takes quadricep through full range of motion
Next week - Zombie Warm-up
Posted on November 29th, 2011 No comments
Here’s a bit of information for runners who are starting our Couch to 5K program. It is not too late to sign up.
Should I eat before we meet on Thursdays?
Absolutely. What you eat depends on you and your habits. If you ate a reasonable lunch at noon, you should probably consume a light snack of 150-250 calories sometime between 3 and 4 o’clock.
I heard that it’s supposed to rain on Thursday. Are we still meeting?
Ok, but we won’t be running outside will we?
Yes, we will still run outside. The only time I don’t go outside is when there are thunderstorms over my head and lightning is striking the trees I can touch.
It’s supposed to be cold on Thursday. Are we still running outside?
Yes. Dress in layers.
How should I dress?
Running is the easiest sport to get in to because the equipment barrier is pretty low. Shorts, shirts, shoes. Wear what you feel comfortable running in. A rule of thumb is to dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer.
What about shoes?
This is Charleston, not the country. We generally wear them in public.
No, what about running shoes?
You want running shoes, even if you’re walking. And if you can’t remember when you bought your shoes, then you’ll probably want to buy new ones. I highly recommend visiting a specialty running or triathlon store that is staffed by runners who are trained to fit runners.
I’ve heard that you need to drink a lot before running. How much should I drink?
If you’re just getting started - don’t make changes to your diet or fluid intake yet. You may want to bring a water bottle with you to drink after we run. Dehydration is always an issue, even in the winter.
Will you tell me what to do?
Yes- telling other people what to do is one of my favorite pastimes. Plus, I own a whistle and a stopwatch and I’m not afraid to use them. We’ll also handout training schedules that will tell you how far, how fast, and how much time to spend running in between meetings.
Posted on November 14th, 2011 No comments
Charleston Runs is offering a Couch to 5K program beginning Thursday, December 1 at 6 pm. The class meets every Thursday evening in downtown Charleston until January 26. This truly is for the beginner and those who would like to get back into shape after laying off from running. The training will culminate in your participation in the Charlie Post Classic 5K, being contested on Sullivan’s Island on Saturday, January 28.
Our goal is to gradually improve your fitness level so that you can finish the 5K (3.1 mile) race. This is a run/walk program which has been proven effective.The only requirement for success is a commitment to stick with the training program.
For more information and to register, please visit our Couch to 5K page.