A Lot to Cover - But These Weekly Coaching Messages Get Shorter Once We Get Through All the Intro-Level Info

Welcome to the training season! Over the course of the 18 week season, you’ll be receiving weekly training tips right here in your inbox. If you have further questions at any time, just hit reply or stop by a Columbus Running Company location where we can help in-person. You can crush this big goal that you’ve set. We’re here to help.

It all starts with a time-tested training plan. If you haven’t done so yet, you can download your half or full marathon training program here. As you look it over, the basics are simple. Each day, you either have a run or walk, a cross training workout, or a rest day. On the run or walk days, we list your goal mileage. On cross training days, we list how long to cross train. And on rest days, give your body a chance to recover from all the hard work that you’re putting in!

You may see items on your schedule that you don’t understand, like strides. Don’t worry, we’ll define everything for you through these coaching emails. Just keep reading each week and we’ll keep you on track. There’s a lot to cover in these early weeks, so let’s start with one of the most important, CRC’s free group runs & walks.



If you’re looking for others to train with, check out the full schedule of CRC’s free group runs & walks here. Training sessions are free, open to all abilities, and are a major boost to motivation - plus, they’re a ton of fun. Our training season begins this Saturday, so come join us at one of our Saturday runs and walks this weekend!

Our primary group run & walk takes place on Saturday mornings at 8am from 5 different locations (the CRC shops in Dublin, Grove City, Pickerington, Short North, and Westerville). Arrive a little before 8am and we’ll greet you and introduce you to others around your pace. You can check in by scanning a QR code and you can access our route map the same way. Shortly after 8am, we’ll go through some quick announcements, and then we’ll get into pace order to start the run & walk. It can be intimidating that first time, but give it a shot. Once you find your pace group after a week or two, those in-person group runs become a ton of fun.



As we’re first getting started, there’s a simple rule that we often stick to: conversation pace. Much of our mileage will be done at a pace where you are exerting yourself but you can still maintain a conversation. Why is conversation pace so crucial? At this pace, your body makes key adaptations that make you a more efficient runner or walker. Go faster and your body doesn’t make those same changes. A lot of people naturally want to push beyond this threshold all the time, but trust us - just like a weightlifter can’t max out his weights every time, runners and walkers need to pick and choose when to push the pace.

Keeping conversation pace in mind, you can download a pdf of our pace chart here: full marathon half marathon. If you have a goal finishing time, look up your goal time and you’ll find a range of training paces that correspond. For those who aren’t sure of goal times, you can instead look up your daily training pace (ie: your conversation pace) to read the chart in reverse, finding a goal finish time. If this is tricky for you, give me a shout with your questions - or, better yet, bring your pace chart to the CRC and anyone on staff can help you to figure out your paces.

One of the main things that I hope you notice as you look at the pace charts is that there is a large range of training paces that correspond with your goal race pace. You don't need to be married to the idea that you "only" run at, as an example, 10:00 per mile - you'll want to run your long runs a bit slower than your weekday runs, and there are different paces for those of you with speed work on your schedule too. Improvements come from mixing this variety of paces together, stressing your body in different ways, and giving yourself time to recover afterwards.

We’ll continue to revisit pace throughout the season, but refer back to the pace chart to stay on the right track.



Aside from pace, it’s also time to talk about cross training. The goal with cross training is to get in a supplemental workout to help round out your fitness. When you cross train, you lessen your chance of injury, strengthen your body in new ways, and get a mental break from all those miles. See our cross training attachment here for further info on all of this


Training for a long distance race is never easy, and life always seems to throw some serious hurdles in the way.  As you clear each hurdle though, you build momentum.  This crazy activity becomes a routine, and that routine pays off over time.  You get fit, lose weight, find yourself breathing easier, and those long miles become an expectation rather than an intimidation.  

Running is incredibly difficult for all of us in the early going, but this is an activity that rewards perseverance and hard work - and forethought.  You’re following a plan that has led to thousands of race finishes since 2004.  Others have logged these same miles and workouts, and they’ve finished first 10ks and lifetime best marathons.  Have confidence in that plan, and commit to putting in those miles.  It’s worked for so many others, and it’s going to work for you. 



As you look at your training schedule this week, you’ll notice that you have something called “strides” listed after some of your runs or walks this season.  These are a supplemental workout that you’ll tack on after you’ve finished your assigned mileage for the day.  Click here for details on how to run these strides.  

The goal with strides is to work on your running form while injecting just a little bit of speed into the mix.  You don’t have to feel like Usain Bolt sprinting along - instead, focus on quick turnover, pumping your arms, keeping your hands relaxed, and holding your head steady.  If you have any questions after reading through the training page, just let me know.

Strides are optional, so you can cut these from the plan if you prefer to avoid them.  Think of strides as extra credit though - if you commit to doing them, they’re going to boost your final grade on race day.



While many of us may think of the actual run or walk as the most important part of our training, how we begin and end our workouts can have a tremendous impact not only on performance, but also on the likelihood that we will sustain an injury during training.  With that idea in mind, the crew at Orthopedic ONE has laid out a specific warm-up and cool down plan for training program members.  To make it even easier to follow, they've filmed each exercise and stretch to create a video tutorial for you to follow. Just click here to access the article & video guide to warming up and cooling down properly.

Injury is a part of any athletic pursuit.  If injury strikes this season, we’re partnered with Orthopedic ONE to offer athletic training services for you.  It’s as simple as a phone call for a free sports med evaluations.  You can find details on Orthopedic ONE’s sports medicine hotline here.  



The beauty of running or walking as a sport is the simplicity.  A good pair of shoes can carry you a long way.  Just be sure that you’re setting yourself up for success by logging your miles in the right shoes for your foot and body type.  There are a few basics to remember: 

Get fit.  Take the time for a fitting.  Swing by the Columbus Running Company anytime and our crew can analyze your gait, go over your injury history, and guide you towards the right answer for you. 

Be picky.  Remember that running shoes shouldn’t need extensive time to break in.  They should feel good from day 1.  And just because you loved a shoe or a brand last year, that doesn’t mean they’ll feel the same with this year’s models.  Be picky and don’t settle until you find the shoe that feels natural to you. 

Give a thumb’s width.  In terms of size, err on the side of extra room.  You want a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.  Your foot will swell during looooooong runs and you want that extra space.  Without the extra room, you’re at risk of black toenails, blisters, bunions, neuromas, and all sorts of easily preventable issues.  (And as someone who has worked in a run shop forever, I know that some of you balk at this idea - but so did I before I learned the hard way.  I liked tight shoes after a childhood of snug soccer cleats, but then I lost 8 toenails in tight running shoes.  Give yourself that extra space!)

Track those miles.  Most good walking or running shoes are good for 400-500 miles or 5-6 months of active use, whichever comes first. If you keep a workout log, just jot down the day you start working out in a new pair to help you keep track. Other signs to look for include ripping of the mesh on the sides of the shoe or near the toes and wearing away of the tread on the bottom. Also if you notice new aches in your knees or the soles of your feet and your training hasn’t really changed much, consider looking into getting a new pair to help prevent any injuries. Finally you can consider rotating between two different pairs of shoes to help prevent the same areas of your feet from being stressed the same way every day.

Week Three

Our running or walking form determines how efficient we are, and it’s rare that any of us are flawless.  There are a few small tips that you can focus on as you’re out logging this week’s miles.

First off, RELAX.  Relax your face.  Drop your shoulders.  Carry your arms low, at a 90 degree angle.  Keep your hands loose.  Tension will waste energy and slow you down, so relax and you’ll find yourself running easier. 

Second, FOCUS STRAIGHT AHEAD.  Your arms should be pumping straight ahead, not side-to-side across your chest.  Your knees should be driving forward with every stride.  Pick a spot on the ground 50 feet ahead of yourself, keep your eyes forever roaming in that range, and run towards it.  Many of us will run with our eyes straight down, which draws our head down and can choke off our air supply.  Keep that head up, eyes straight ahead, and you’ll breathe easier as you charge forward. 

Finally, focus on QUICK FEET.  A quick turnover is more efficient than a looooong but slow stride.  As you tire, focus on shrinking your stride and speeding up your cadence.  You’ll cover more ground with less wasted energy.  It may seem counter-intuitive, but it works.  And remember, the goal is simple - keep moving forward!

Want to put these items into practice?  Ask a CRC staffer after next week's group run & walk, and we'll gladly take a moment to work one-on-one with you to provide feedback to help you maximize your efficiency on the move. 



for intermediate + speed plan followers (if you’re on the advanced plan, your speed work details are laid out in detail within the plan itself)

For those on a training plan that involves speed work, we’re introducing tempo runs this week.  The goal of speed work isn’t to prepare any of us for the Olympics.  Instead, the goal here is to push ourselves a little harder, in shorter bursts, so that our other runs become that much easier. 

(Skip this part unless you want to nerd out with Coach Eric again... There are specific paces for each type of speed workout, and each workout is designed to stress your body in a different way.  As an example, tempo runs teach your body to adjust its lactate threshold.  Most people make the mistake of running every single run on their schedule at the same moderately hard pace.  You’ll improve much more if you ease back on most of those runs, using the easier days to build up your cardio system.  Then, because of the strength that you’ve built up from all those easier paced miles, your body will be able to handle more when you start adding in tempos, track workouts, and strides.  The end result is that you get to race day in the best possible shape.  It’s the method prescribed by exercise scientists for a reason - mixing paces with speed work makes you the best possible runner that you can be.)

If you’re on one of the plans that includes speed work, you’ll be running a tempo run this week. Read through the tempo run attachment here, and let me know if you have any questions.  You can find your tempo run pace on the pace chart that we shared earlier in the season, which you can also find here for marathoners and here for half marathoners.

For a tempo run, run for 10-15 minutes at an easy pace to get yourself warmed up.  Then, run at your assigned tempo pace for 15 minutes, keeping the pace as consistent as possible.  After that, complete your remaining assigned mileage for the day at an easy pace.  It’s as simple as that. 

Week Four

A successful training season is all about building good habits.  It’s easier to stick to your goals if you can make them part of a routine, so consider the following steps as you build those habits:

Prime your environment.  Example: If you’re a morning runner or walker, have your outfit and shoes laid out beside the bed the night before.  That’s one less excuse you can make for yourself in the morning. 

Set a schedule.  If your first workout is always on Monday at 7am, it’s easier to stick to that set routine instead of running at 7am one week, 7pm the next, and not at all the week after.  Good habits take a month to really set in, so keep building that routine!

Put yourself on the line.  Register for your race now.  That investment puts you on the hook.  Write your goals down and post them where you’ll see them daily.  That extra daily reminder adds up day after day.  

Pace is an important part of your routine.  We shared our pace chart with you last week.  Look back at that and make sure that you’re zeroing in on proper pacing. For a little more info on the importance of pacing, just click here.



Let's focus on the importance of strengthening the core, as this is beneficial both for improving a runner’s performance as well as minimizing their risk for injury.  To learn how to add planks to your training routine, check out this week's Orthopedic ONE training tip here, and be sure to watch the tutorial video on planks.   

It's easy to ignore supplemental workouts like this, but they can have a major impact on your health as a runner or walker.  Those core workouts have a domino effect on your training - a strong core leads to better form, which improves your efficiency, which allows you to run faster with less effort.  Get in these extra workouts and you'll reap a lot of rewards.

If injury hits, remember that you can contact Orthopedic ONE for help.



Those miles keep adding up.  It’s time for some tips on how to dress for all those workouts:

Avoid cotton.  In workout circles, it’s known as “rotten cotton” for a reason.  Stick with wicking materials that will keep you dry & comfortable.  This is doubly important with socks and sports bras.

Speaking of sports bras, they’re as important as shoes for women runners & walkers.  A good bra is breathable, supportive, and comfortable when on the move.  If you’re doubling up with two compression sports bras at once, make the switch to a more supportive encapsulation bra, which will provide the support you need in a single bra.  The elasticity and support in a bra does break down, so make sure that you're replacing your bras as they break down.  If they're chafing, that means they're either worn out or weren't a good fit to begin with.  

And speaking of chafing, BodyGlide is your best friend now.  It’s an anti-chafing product that you can apply to your thighs, armpits, sports bra line, feet, and any other hot spots.  Just remember, BodyGlide is a preventative tool.  Apply it before your workout, but don’t apply it to broken or chafed skin.

Accessories make the difference.  A good hat keeps the rain out of your eyes.  Polarized sunglasses make a massive difference.  A hydration belt allows you to carry keys, phone, drinks, and more.  Little accessories make a big impact on your comfort level on the trail - and that’s especially true in the winter when good running hats, gloves, and traction devices can make the worst winter days enjoyable. 

At the most basic level, I recommend three running outfits - one in the wash, one that you’re wearing for today’s workout, one that’s ready for tomorrow.  Check out some of the latest women’s gear or men’s gear at the CRC. 

Week Five

Training for a long distance race is a challenge.  Set yourself up for success through a few simple tricks: 

Use reinforcementGive yourself an immediate reward when you complete your habit. That could be as basic as a Starbucks trip after a Saturday long run.  

Use a habit tracker: Keep track of your training on a paper log or online training log.  It’s seriously motivating to see those miles add up on paper, and the thought of adding a big fat ZERO to a workout day gets tougher with each successful week that you log. 

Never miss twice: When you miss a workout, make sure you get back on track immediately.  Don’t let that workout slip twice.

If you can stick to those little tricks, it’s amazing how much more you start to hold yourself accountable.  Let’s build some momentum this week!  



Nutrition is absolutely crucial for our success as runners and walkers.  What you put into your body determines so much of what you can get out of your body.  

We’ve been fortunate to have had two great registered dietitians on staff at the CRC over the years, and they compiled a list of nutrition tips for anyone training for a long distance race.  You can find that info sheet here, so check it out and start building healthy nutritional habits today!

We don’t promote any specific diet.  Instead, we promote a diverse, healthy mix that includes room for the occasional splurge.  That said, we’ll be sharing additional tips in some of our future coaching emails, so incorporate those little changes over the course of the season.  You’ll feel better on the run and those healthy habits pay off the longer you stick with them. 

Week Six

As we put in the miles to prep for a long distance race, it’s easy to become chained to those weekly and daily mileage goals.  And that by-the-book approach leads a lot of runners and walkers to never take part in any races until the day of their big event. 


If you only race once in the season, that places a massive level of stress and importance on that one date.  On top of that, you don’t give yourself a chance to prep for racing in a crowd, battling the anxiety and adrenaline of a race day, or savoring the enjoyment of being part of all the excitement.  

I highly, highly recommend that you look at your calendar and carve out a couple of weekends for racing between now and your big goal race.  Use these as dress rehearsals.  Add a short warmup and maybe even a long cool down to the day, and you can stay on track with your mileage goals too.  

If you’re looking for some fun ones, check out the CRC race calendar.  You’ll find classic races like the Columbus 10k as well as kooky ones like the Choo Choo 9 Miler - where we race in honor of an imaginary train engineer who crashed 9 miles short of home.  Is it ridiculous?  Sure.  But you could argue that racing 9 miles for literally any reason is just as ridiculous.  See you at the races! 



Our nutrition tip for this week: get your iron.  Long distance workouts naturally deplete your body’s iron levels, which can lead to anemia.  If you find yourself fatigued, dragging through your days, and unable to match your old paces, boosting your iron intake can resurrect your energy levels.  You’ll find iron in red meat, fortified cereals, and green leafy veggies.  Be sure to take some vitamin C with your iron, as this will help your body to absorb more of the iron that you take in.  We suggest a glass of orange juice with that fortified breakfast cereal.



This week, the crew from Orthopedic ONE Therapy Services guides you through a series of four exercises to help strengthen the three gluteal muscles that make up the buttocks. Click here to access an informative video that will lead you through each of these exercises.

Over time, performing these exercises will improve overall athletic performance and reduce the risk of injury. Personally, I'm a HUGE fan of these specific exercises. I used to run into all sorts of injuries, and then I added these basic exercises into my routine. Those old aches and pains are in the rearview mirror now, and I can enjoy my running so much more now that I'm pain free. That's the beauty of these simple exercises that you can add into your routine this week.

I know how runners and walkers typically skip these "extra credit" workouts, but these exercises make a big difference in the prevention of injuries. Carve out five more minutes around your workout and add these to the mix!

If injury hits, remember that you can contact Orthopedic ONE for help.

Week Seven

None of the training is easy, but these middle weeks are often the hardest part of any training schedule.  Race day still feels far off, those accumulating miles are becoming tougher, and you just want to sleep in.  Fight through it all.  You're getting stronger every week, whether you realize it or not.  Once you're through the peak mileage & you start to taper, it's going to get better and better.  

Right now, the challenge is to remember that endurance training is about long term rewards, not short term ones.  We’re playing a long game and it requires a season of dedication and focus.  You’ve got this!



for intermediate + speed plan followers (if you’re on the advanced plan, your speed work details are laid out in detail within the plan itself)

It’s time to mix up your speed work a bit, so we’re going to introduce you to the track this week. Click here for details on how to run a track workout. When we do track workouts this season, we’ll be running either 400m (quarter mile) or 800m (half mile) repeats. You can run these on a track, treadmill, or open road. The key is to run the repeats at a specific pace and to then recover for a set amount of time between each. Refer back to your pace chart for specifics on those paces: marathon pace chart and half marathon pace chart.  

Let’s say your workout is 5x400m.  Start by running easily for 10-15 minutes to get warmed up.  After that, you’ll run 400m (one lap around an outdoor track) at your assigned 400m pace.  This is going to be a relatively fast pace, so you’re going to need some serious recovery afterwards.  We take equal recoveries - this means that if it took you 2 minutes to run your 400m, you should take 2 minutes to recover.  Jog around during this time, as your body will find the workout easier if you keep moving lightly between each 400m repeat.  Your workout is complete once you’ve run five total 400m repeats.  After this, cool down by running at an easy pace until you’ve completed the assigned mileage for the day.

Remember, as you do track workouts, the goal is to run each repeat at the same pace as the previous.  You don’t win bonus points for blowing through the first one - especially if it means that you can’t then finish the full workout.  Focus on completing the full workout, and you’ll get the biggest benefit that way.

Week Eight

The first time that I ran a marathon, I sat down on a curb at mile 24 of the Chicago Marathon.  I was done.  Out of nowhere, an old friend showed up.  We hadn’t seen each other since college, but he lived in Chicago and was out watching the race.  I can’t even remember what he said to me there at mile 24, but he gave me his hand and pulled me up from that curb.  Everything had gone wrong on race day and I wasn’t sure that I could finish those final two miles.  Justin gave me a push down the road, and I owe that first marathon finish to that helping moment.

I share this story each season to remind you that you’re not in this alone.  Training can feel like a solitary pursuit, sometimes impossibly hard.  But you’re surrounded by people who are willing to offer you their hand, to pick you up, and to push you down the road.  Accept that help.  These races are major challenges - both in training and on race day - but you can do this with the push from all those helping hands.  That includes us here at the CRC.  Don’t be afraid to give us a shout with any training questions that are coming up, and let us know how we can give you that extra little push to keep going.  It’s all worth it in the end.  Believe me.



We’re two months into the training season, and this is often a time when aches and pains begin to creep in.  Soreness is expected.  Pain is not.  If you think that you’re on the edge of injury, Orthopedic ONE has some general guidelines to consider.  You can find those here, along with a list of the most common running injuries and what to expect of each.  

If injury hits, remember that you can contact Orthopedic ONE for help.

Week Nine

In the early weeks of the training season, there’s a ton of information that we have to cover.  From pace charts to efficient form to reading a training schedule, there’s just a ton to go over.  As we get to the end, the same is true.  From tapering to goal setting to race day strategies, we’ll have a lot to go over.  

Here in the middle, it’s all about inspiration and focus.  You know the basics.  Now it’s time to consistently put in the work that we’ve been talking about all season long.  Every mile matters so lace up those shoes and get out the door this week.  



I’ve written for a variety of running publications over the years, but my favorite was writing for a now shuttered magazine called Running Times, a sister publication to Runner’s World.  One of the grittiest, toughest, most impressive runners that I had the honor of interviewing for RT was Liz Yelling, a British Olympic marathoner.  

When Liz stepped up to her Olympic starting line, it was the culmination of a lifetime of hard work, big dreams, and constant sacrifice.  But there she was on the biggest stage in sport.  When the race started, it was like a dream.  At one point, she even flirted with the lead, pushing the pace against the best marathoners in the world.  Then, with one misstep from another runner, that dream became a nightmare.  

Someone clipped Liz’s leg from behind.  At world class marathoning pace, there’s no slowing down to catch yourself.  Liz somersaulted to the road.  It was a spectacular wipeout, but she jumped back up and rejoined the leaders.  

Adrenaline hid the pain for a couple of miles, but that pain took over soon enough.  Her ribs ached.  Her arm felt weak, useless.  She couldn’t draw in enough oxygen, as if she was running with one lung.  She’d made it to the starting line in the best shape of her life.  Now she was hanging on for dear life, battling to reach the finish line on willpower alone. 

It was only afterwards that Liz found out that she broke ribs in that fall.  That she really was running on one lung.  That she should have dropped out right then and there.  No one would have faulted her for it.  But that’s not what happened.  She soldiered on, fighting her way to the finish line of that marathon.  She did it.  Against all odds, she finished the Olympic marathon. 

We’ve all heard the quotes about how it doesn’t matter how many times you fall, it’s about how many times you get back up.  There’s truth to that old cliche.  Liz proved it, earning that marathon finish.  And you can prove it too.  We’re two months into this training season and I know that hurdles have presented themselves to you along the way.  You’re not letting those stop your momentum though.  You’ve worked hard to get to this level and you’ll keep working hard for the weeks ahead.  This is a challenge that you can handle.  Think of Liz laying on the road in the split second when she had to decide if she was a marathoner or if she was going to stay down.  And like Liz, get back up and run on.  

You can do this. 



As the miles add up, recovery becomes more and more important.  Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep, especially after those long weekend runs.  

We’ve touched on nutrition & hydration all season long, and they’re a huge key to recovery.  Remember, after a cardio workout, you have a half hour window when you want to focus on refueling.  Aim for a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein while taking in 100-300 calories.  This will refuel what you’ve been burning up, helping your body to recover from the workout & keeping your metabolism burning along.  Good examples of post-workout snacks include chocolate milk, a banana with peanut butter, or a yogurt with mixed fruit.


Now’s a great time to familiarize yourself with the course that you’ll be racing on.  Pull up the race website and look over the map.  Even better, check out the elevation profile.  You want to be ready for those hills when they hit or that hairpin turn that throws everyone off.  I’m a big fan of running pieces of a course in advance - or at least driving them.  Distances feel shorter and more manageable when you know where you are in relation to the rest of the course.  Take some time to check things out and get yourself ready for the course ahead.  



You simply can’t finish a long distance race without fueling yourself properly.  Now that you’ve begun to set good training habits and the miles are getting longer, let’s look at what’s fueling all these miles. 

Glycogen is your body’s main fuel source when running.  Glycowhat?  It’s simple - we’re just talking about carbs that your body has processed and absorbed.  This is why carbs are important to a running diet, and you’ll want to fuel up with healthy carbs like whole grains, fruits, and cereals.  Prior to a run or walk, regardless of whether you workout first thing in the morning or late in the evening, you’ll want to take in a small snack to top off your fuel reserves.  Then, once you get going, sports gels and similar products come into play. 

A sports gel, like GU or Clif Shot, is a packet of concentrated carbs.  These go down easily, are absorbed by your body quickly, and help to keep your body fueled on the run.  Our natural fuel tank can power us through around 60 minutes of aerobic exercise, but we hit empty shortly after that.  Anytime that you’re running longer than an hour, take a gel with you.  Use one around 45-50 minutes into the run, and it’ll push back that moment when you hit empty.  After the first gel, continue to take additional sports gels every 25-30 minutes to keep yourself powered up. 

When people talk about hitting the wall in a long race, they’re typically talking about the dreadful feeling of hitting empty.  Just like your car with no gas in the tank, your body can’t keep powering towards that finish line without energy.  Give gels a try, and you’ll find yourself feeling far, far better on those long runs.  If the gels aren’t your cup of tea, there are sports chews as well.  These gummies are loaded with the same electrolytes and carbs as the gels, but they take slightly longer for your body to process.  If you switch to gummies, just be sure to ingest them five minutes earlier than you would take in gels.  Good luck, and enjoy the little snacks on the run!



Earlier this season, Orthopedic ONE guided you through a set of exercises designed to strengthen your gluteal muscles. Well, they’re back with even more exercises to further strengthen those glutes.  Over time, performing these exercises will improve overall athletic performance and reduce the risk of injury. Just click here to access a video guide to these supplemental exercises.

If injury hits, remember that you can contact Orthopedic ONE for help.


We’ve all been told that we can’t do something.  Sometimes we even tell ourselves these things.  26 miles?  I can’t run that far.  Or I’ll never finish that 5k.  Or I’m just not a runner.  

On the elite end of our sport, there are some great stories that we can draw inspiration from.  My favorite story that I ever was fortunate enough to write for a running magazine was a profile of Marilson Gomes dos Santos.  A Brazilian marathoner, Marilson ran the 2006 NYC Marathon as a relative unknown.  When every other world class runner in the elite field focused on the Kenyans and Ethiopians in the race, Marilson focused on himself.  No one picked a South American runner to win that year’s NYC Marathon, but Marilson ran away with the title - and then repeated again a few years later when everyone was fixated on the world record holder in the race.  He did the impossible - and then he did it again.  

Marilson told me that he never doubted himself.  He’d worked too hard to let that nagging little voice in the back of his head get any attention.  Instead, he ignored the odds, put it all on the line, and he walked away a champion.

For most of us, running is about focusing on ourselves and our goals - but I love to follow the uplifting stories of the pros in our sport.  Their stories show us that anything is possible.  It just takes commitment, long miles, a dream, and a plan.  We’re providing you with that plan.  Let’s see that commitment as you chase that dream.  Anything is possible.



We all know that hydration is important - but let’s be honest, how many of us skimp on our day-to-day hydration anyway?  It’s easy to let a good hydration habit slip away.  The crew at Orthopedic ONE have some great hydration info to share with us though, specific to endurance athletics.  Check it out here and get focused on upping your own hydration game



Keep healthy snacks easily accessible. With busy schedules, you will be more liking to eat healthier foods when they are on display. Try placing some already cut up fruit in the fridge or whole fruit on your table for everyone to grab when in a pinch. If that healthy snack is easily accessible and - even better - visible during the course of your day, you're far more likely to choose it rather than to dig up some junk food. 

Incorporate calcium into your diet, too. Running is a high impact exercise, and weight-bearing exercises have been shown to increase bone density. This is a good thing, especially as we age and bone density in many people drops, but it takes calcium to maximize your healthy bones. You can find calcium in milk, yogurt, cheeses, spinach, salmon, and tofu - so yes, you can get calcium in your diet even if you're averse to dairy.


As we continue to ramp up mileage, it's time to start thinking about race day strategies.  Let's start by considering the idea of negative splits.  In a negative split race, your goal is to run the second half faster than the first half.  This approach gives your body time to get warmed up in the early going, and it's far better to hold something in reserve in the longest of races - you want to be the person passing others & building momentum in the second half, not shuffling along as your body shuts down.  Even at the elite level, negative splits make for a more efficient race.  The world record in the marathon has been run as a negative split multiple times, showing how effective this approach can be.

In order to be at your most efficient on race day, and to run negative splits in your own race, you'll want to practice this approach.  Start with one of your easy recovery runs.  Run the second half just a little quicker than the first, teaching your body to accelerate as you get warmed up, loosening up as you go.  Once you begin to do your daily runs like this, for those on the intermediate training plan, bring this approach into your speed workouts.  For a track workout, that means running slightly quicker on each interval of your workout.  You'll find that this approach really pays off, allowing you to finish workouts on a high note and with your best effort.  By training like this, you'll prepare yourself for a strong second half on race day, regardless of the distance you're chasing.



At this part of the training cycle, the miles are starting to accumulate, and you may be experiencing new aches and pains. You may find yourself questioning if you can continue to train through the pain, if you should rest or even if you need to have the issue evaluated by a medical professional. Fear not, your Sports Medicine Team at Orthopedic ONE is here to help!  Check out this week’s Orthopedic ONE tip about easing those aches and pains.

If injury hits, remember that you can contact Orthopedic ONE for help.



At the CRC, we’re extremely fortunate to work in the running and walking community, and this is a positive, uplifting group to be part of in any way.  We’ve met some amazing people along the way.

There’s Jake, a former Delaware Hayes high school kid who picked up a running book at the library and used it to win a state championship in the mile.  Years later, he ran his first sub 4 minute mile while being sponsored by CRC and then we all tuned into ESPN2 to watch him racing at USATF track nationals.

And there’s Linda, a “brand new to running and terrified of it” beginner who came to her first CRC group run but couldn’t talk herself into getting out of the car.  She watched the others gather and run off, and then she drove home.  The second time that she talked herself into coming, she got out of the car.  That was around 2005.  Today, she’s a marathoner and longtime runner.

One of my favorites is Jed.  His doctor told him that if he didn’t completely change his lifestyle, he would be facing all sorts of medical crises, from diabetes to even greater risks.  A year later, after joining up with the CRC group runs, his doctor told him that he was a different person.  If he didn’t know better, he would never guess that the man from a year ago was the same who now stood before him.

We’ve been blessed to work with so many incredible runners and walkers, and this is the community that you’re part of now.  Share your story with us.  Send a training update, we’d love to hear how things are going.  And we’re always looking for positive stories to highlight on social media, so send us a workout pic and story if you’d like for us to share it with the world.  Maybe your story will be the one to inspire someone to step out the door that first time.



As your mileage continues to grow, be sure that you’re getting plenty of healthy carbs in your diet.  Remember that your body only has three fuel sources - fat, protein, and glycogen (processed carbs).  Fat is slow burning, and it won’t help you much.  Protein is inefficient during your workouts, as it’s best for helping you recover afterwards.  That leaves carbs as your body’s fuel source while out running or walking.  Be sure that you’re loading up on fruits, veggies, and whole grains.  A pre-workout Clif Bar can give you a real boost.

Focus on fiber-rich carbohydrates.  Instead of heavy sides like mashed potatoes, sprinkle some beans or roasted corn into a light salad to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.  Choose the right fuels, and you'll go looooong on those runs.


It’s time to talk about some strategies for your upcoming race day.  We’ve been focused on training, but there’s just as much to unravel as we discuss race day.  Let’s dive in: 

Go the extra mile in training - but follow the shortest possible course on race day.  On race day, your course could be crowded with others.  Despite this, try to run the tangents along the way as much as possible.  When they measure a race course, they measure the tangents - so any time you take a wide turn or run on the far side of the street, you’re adding distance onto your race.  We’ve seen people finish marathons with more than a half mile of extra running on their Garmin, all because they didn’t run the tangents.  Cut those corners tight! 

Stick to routine.  We’ll go over this again and again, but don’t change anything on race day.  Stick to foods you know and clothes you’ve worn before.  If they’re handing out drinks and gels on the course, don’t take them unless you’ve trained with them.  You’re better off carrying your own nutrition and hydration if you’re unsure of any detail.  Physically and mentally, you know a routine.  Stick to it. 

Bring a cheering section.  Invite friends and family to cheer, and ask them to pick strategic spots on the course.  If you haven’t taken part in a long distance race before, it’s amazing how much of a pick-me-up it is when your crew is there to cheer you along.  You might not notice them at the crowded starting line though.  It’s far better for them to be on that empty stretch of the course where there are few spectators.  It’ll be easier for them to spot you and you’ll get a boost from their presence, carrying you through that next mile or more. 

After the race, take recovery seriously - both mentally and physically.  The longer your race, the more crucial this tip is.  Your body is going to experience a lot of stress on race day, and that requires some extra recovery time.  The old school rule was to take one day off for every mile of your race.  That’s old fashioned advice has been disproven - but we generally recommend 1-2 weeks of light miles after a 10k and 1-2 weeks of complete rest after a half or full marathon.  Even if you feel great, that recovery time sets you up for future success by giving you time to recharge in every way.  

Keep dreaming about race day!  You’re building your way up one workout at a time, and it’s all worth it once you’re on that starting line. 


You’ve been working hard to get yourself in physical shape for race day.  Now it’s time to turn toward some mental tricks.  This week, take the time to look over the map of your race course again.  As we’ve covered, distances feel far more manageable when you have an idea of the course details.  You’ll want to know where the hills are, when to expect water stops, and where family & friends can gather.  

On that note, I also like to break down the course into specific segments.  For the quarter marathon, think of the race as two separate runs.  You’re basically doing two 5ks.  That sounds more manageable, right?  For most half marathons, think of the race as three separate runs.  You’re doing two five milers and then a 5k.  Look over the map, break down those three distances, and treat each as their own goal on race day.  For marathoners, it's two ten milers and a 10k.  Each of those are distances that you’ve covered in training again & again.  Breaking the race down into those familiar distances will help you to tackle the challenge of the full distance when race day gets here.


We’re through the final BIG weeks of miles, and that means it’s taper time.  

Your mileage is dropping in anticipation of the big race.  The gist of tapering is simple - as we head into the final weeks, you just need to trust in your training, back off on the distance, and allow your body to recover for the big effort that you’re going to put out there on race day.  It’s almost here. 

Avoid the temptation to push yourself a little further or faster at this point in the training schedule.  It takes time for your body to recover from hard workouts - to “absorb” the training - and you won’t gain much from overachieving on your training plan this week.  Stick to the assigned drop in mileage, and let your body begin the recovery process ahead of race day.

As always, reach out with questions.  The hardest training days may be done at this point, but race day is coming up!



The season has been full of challenges, but you’ve stuck with it mile after mile.  Now it’s almost time to show yourself what all that work was for.  We’re getting close to race day.

When you first started building towards that big day, it may have felt impossibly far off, but you committed to it.  You logged the miles.  You battled with confidence and motivation and came out on top.  Now it’s almost time for a day of celebration.  That happens on race day, when you put it all on the line. 

In terms of your approach to the end of the season, remember that race day is just another long run.  You’ve been through this for months now, so stick to your normal routine.  That means eating familiar foods the day before, sticking to your usual pre-workout fueling routine, and wearing clothes that you’ve already run or walked in before.  Do NOT introduce anything new into your routine at this point!  After all of the training, you know what works for you, so stick with it. 

Get to the race early, and get in line for the port-a-pots right when you get there.  When you finish up, get back in line.  You’re going to be well hydrated and nervous.  The port-a-pot is a racer’s best friend on race morning.  Bring some extra clothes to layer up for the early morning chill, and shed them just before the start.  You’re not getting those back, so make sure to wear something that you’re okay with donating!  Volunteers generally collect all the shed clothing once the race begins. 

Even the least competitive person gets an adrenaline rush at the start of a big race.  Hold yourself back and stick to your planned pace.  Some of the miles are going to fly by.  You’re going to hit rough patches.  Familiar faces are going to give you a second wind, especially if you have family and friends coming to cheer for you.  The ups and downs of race day mirror the ups and downs of your training season.  It’s all worth it when you turn the corner and see that finish line.


All the miles pointed towards this.  It’s race time.  

We’ve covered all of the basics of training and racing, but nothing compares to the real thing.  Enjoy every moment of it.  Yes, it’s going to be a challenge, but the challenge is why we step onto that starting line.  It’s about rising above that challenge.  About proving what you’re capable of.  About celebrating every step along that course.  

Your race may be euphoric.  It may be an endless slog.  A lot depends on how your training went - things that you can control - but a lot depends on what the weather is like on race day - things that you can’t control.  There’s no use stressing about any of it at this point.  Focus on the mental aspects of your race, believe in yourself, and push through every mile.  You can do this.  We’ll be cheering you along every moment along the way.  



You’ve been pushing your body to the limit and the anticipation is building. But once the finish line has been crossed and the adrenaline wears off, you may find yourself asking, “What now?” The experienced runner knows that race recovery is a real thing and the smart runner will take the necessary steps to successfully recuperate from this race so their body is ready to tackle the next challenge ahead! Your Orthopedic ONE Sports Medicine Team has been here for you throughout your training and we won’t leave you hanging now. Follow these steps to successfully bounce back from your next race --> Click here for the full article



We’re excited for you!  Share your story with us afterwards.  We love to hear how race day went.  If you’d like to share some words and a race pic, we’d love to share your inspiring moment with others through CRC social media too.  There are so many people dreaming about doing what you’re doing, but they just haven’t made that commitment.  We love showing them that all of us - that regular people, just like them - can achieve big things.  Thanks for inspiring all of us and reminding us of why we love long distance running and walking.