Coach's Corner

Note: I am a newly certified RRCA Running Coach. Everything posted in "Coach's Corner" is my opinion. I am not a doctor. As with anything on the internet, take everything with a grain of salt!

After introducing Coach's Corner last week as my weekly Tuesday post, I spent a good amount of time thinking about where I wanted to go with this.  I really think my heart is with helping beginners find their way in the world of running, so I really want to keep the focus of Coach's Corner on the beginner.  What that means for many of you veterans, is that you might find the information boring... but just maybe, on occassion, you will gleen a new piece of info or be able to add to my ramblings to help someone out.

I currently have 8 amazing women who are allowing me to help them on their journey.  Definitely a full plate, but I'm already getting so much out of it.  I absolutely love the interactions and the questions.  I mean, seriously, most of us bloggers were born to talk incessantly about what we love... now I get to do that and help others in the process.  Win-win!

What's awesome is that you get questions that you never even considered... and you really have to take some time and think through something that might have been very intuitive and natural for you, but isn't always that way for others.

This week, twice, I got the question... "How do you run on a treadmill?"  At first glance, it seems simple... but then if I really think back to the very first time I got on a treadmill (back in college), it was, in fact, quite intimidating to step on that big machine, not knowing which button to press and mortified that I would fly off the back!  So I spent some time thinking about it, and here are some thoughts/tips that I shared with my athletes:
-- Get onto the treadmill and get everything situated and comfortable.  Familiarize yourself with all the buttons and controls before you start so you know where to make adjustments quickly, if needed.
-- I suggest you start the treadmill out very slowly between a 3.0-3.5 and walk for at least a lap (0.25 miles) just to get the feel of it (and to warm up).
-- Once you are comfortable, you can slowly ease the pace up.  You will have to learn your treadmill pace.  I actually run slower on the treadmill than outside... some people are the opposite.  Slowly ramp up the speed until you feel like you are at a nice, steady comfortable speed.  You aren't struggling to stay on, but you're also not tripping over the front of the treadmill (this is something I do often when trying to force myself into a really slow recovery jog).  Your stride should feel natural.  Don't stride out anymore than you would outside.
-- If you ever feel like the speed has gotten too fast, grab the bars with both hands and hop up to put your feet on the outer edges of the treadmill.  You can then slow the speed before hopping back in.  You'll probably use this technique more when/if you do speedwork.
-- Once you are comfortable with using the treadmill, you can play with pushing your pace and adjusting the incline.  I recommend varying the incline during your workout between 0-3%.  There are usually pre-programmed runs that you can use, but you can just as easily do it manually changing the incline every lap or so just to keep it interesting.  Whatever works for you!

Tidbit of the week - Track the mileage on your shoes and remember to replace them every 300-500 miles.  I, personally, start getting shin splints when my shoes hit 300-350.  Don't push the mileage, replace your shoes!  Use the old ones to walk the mall or garden, but not to run.  Another option with shoes is to rotate them.  I, personally, just started this, and I love it.  There are a couple of thoughts behind rotating shoes... First, when you're compressing the foam in the shoe, and it can take 24 to 36 hours to decompress.  Plus, the extra time can allow shoes to completely dry before the next use.  Even if you are rotating two of the exact same style, allowing the shoes time to "recover" is thought to extend the life (although I cannot support this with personal experience, YET).  Now, if you are rotating two different styles of shoes (which I do), the additional advantage is said to be that the support in the shoes is different and thus you are changing the stresses on your feet such that it isn't the exact same repetitive stress everyday, which supposedly can reduce injuries.  Again, I cannot officially confirm nor deny this claim (I'm not particularly injury-prone), but the theory seems to make sense.

Motivational quote of the week - If you want to become the best runner you can be, start now. Don't spend the rest of your life wondering if you can do it.  --Priscilla Welch

And random thought of the week - I've been thinking about my "motto" since so many of you have one... and while I was in the shower today (you already all know I'm always doing running math on the shower walls), I started writing thoughts on the shower walls...  and it popped out...
COURAGE to start.  COMMITMENT to finish.