Boston Marathon Featured Runner-Shelby Henry #marathonmonday

I am so excited to start a new series featuring a different runner each week. Every Monday until April, I will be featuring a runner that has qualified and currently training to run the Boston Marathon in April this year.

The Boston Marathon represents something special for many runners. As one of the oldest and most prestigious marathons. Earning the opportunity to even apply for entry is an honor and marks an amount of commitment and sacrifice.

I am excited to give a voice and share the story of a few of these runners. Each story is unique and each journey is filled with moments of success and moments of struggle. My hope is each runner who shares will touch at least one person who is reading this. Gives one person hopes.

I can’t wait to follow, cheer and celebrate these awesome indivuals. Our first featured runner is Shelby

Athlete Name:Shelby Henry

Social Media -@Shenry_runtx

How many Boston Marathons have you run previously? Shelby has run 6 marathons. This will be her first Boston Marathon.

  • Can you first, give us your Boston marathon story.
    • I didn’t start running until I was 43 years old, all thanks to my sisters. They were running and I was not, and had FOMO.  The rest is history.  I found a running group through the local MRTT (moms run this town), and we ran so many miles together. From them I discovered the local run stores with their running community.  
    • My first marathon was 4:19, second 4:10, then  my husband said, “I think you’re good enough to qualify for Boston”.  I trained with my “posse” and they formed a relay team to pace me. Unfortunately, I missed the cutoff by 2:13. So, 7 weeks later, I ran another marathon and QUALIFIED.  Most amazing feeling to know all the work paid off and to be surrounded with my friends and family when it happened.
  • What do you look forward to most, about running the Boston Marathon?
    • Running the Boston Marathon shows if you have a goal, things are attainable.  As a teacher, I want my students to know everyone has goals, and the actions you choose  can aid in the attainment of these goals . Also, since I became a runner in  my 40’s I hope to be a role model to other late bloom runners. Pace is irrelevant!! #ifyouremovingyoureliving
  • How will you define success, on race day?
    • Success to me on race day  is finishing. I have no time goal other than to have a fun run on an iconic course. I am looking forward to the stories I will share with my family and my students/co-workers.
  • Do you have a favorite product, clothing, or tech that you use for racing or training?
    • When I race I like to run in a running skirt. My go-to gel is Maurten. Although pricey, it agrees with my body.  I also use the Maurten powder before the race as well as during.  During summer, I use watered down powerade.  I found out the hard way my body does not like gatorade (especially on the course) I also tend to wear bright colors so my family can spot me on the course.
  • Any advice for someone trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon or training for their first Boston Marathon?
    • Since I’m new to training for Boston myself, I suggest incorporate hills into your training cycle. 
    • As for trying to qualify, find a group  of people who believe in you. I didn’t have a coach, but when I missed Boston by 2 minutes, I stumbled on the Hanson training plan.  I had never done speed work, but having added the speed and still doing the 80/20, I saw success. If you feel a coach is needed, find one that works with your philosophy!!
  • What part of the marathon do you find the most challenging?
    • Time management for training runs.  I love the long runs and feel amazing after the speed workouts. I would prefer to run before work because I won’t take away from family time. But sometimes, it’s difficult to find anyone to run with at o-dark-thirty. Therefore, I tend to run a lot of solo runs during the week  and enjoy the company of others on the weekend.
  • What has been your favorite race (any distance) up until this point?
    • I have several favorite races for various reasons…. My heart is drawn to the Dallas Marathon as it was my 1st marathon.  The Cowtown is where I BQ’d (the 1st time) and of course, because of that it’s also special.  Houston marathon is a fast and a flat course and this was the qualifying race to get me to Boston ‘23.    But, I’m looking forward to KC marathon next year because I ran the half and realized all the work is in the front half, so I “just had to sign up”.   All races that I mentioned have the best crowd support too. The crowd keeps you pumped up!
  • Do you have any pre-race routines, rituals or good luck charms?
    • I tend to eat a pasta dinner the  night before, on race day, I’ll have bagel.  I also apply moleskin on the bottom of my feet to help  with prevention of blisters. The race day nerves makes finding a restroom a top priority before you leave the house, when you get the run, and probably again right before the race.
  • What (or who) inspires you as a runner??
    • I am inspired by the non-elite runners who have family and or career. I like cheering on the moms who run because they need it for sanity, or friendship, or even to get healthy. I find that runners who are near my age are also inspiring. We all have a story as to WHY we run.  But,  I LOVE cheering at races. It so much fun.  But,  I find I like to challenge myself.  As I have gotten older, running is different, especially the recovery.  So, if I can continue to run I feel I keep inspiring myself.  I like that my daughters think I’m a badass because their mom Boston Qualified.

Thank you to Shelby for sharing your story. We wish you a all the best as your train for the Boston Marathon. I know I will be following you on Marathon Monday. I hope your students can share in the excitedment with you in some way. Thanks for being such an inspriation to our next generation.

Last week, Kathy was our first featured runner. If you missed it, be sure to click here and read aout her amazing journey and how she is motivated by her twin boys to overcome adversity every single day.

Be sure to comment below, giving Shelby a bit of luck on her journey. COMMENT, LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to hear more stories every Monday!


What the HILL? A look at the benefits of hill training for runners.

Hill workouts for runners can take many forms and the benefits can vary a little depending on the type of race and training stimulus the runner and/or coach is trying to achieve. Running hills include many variables such as; length, intensity, repetitions, time, recovery, and grade. Any of these combinations slightly vary the benefits gained. There are some commonalities to the benefits of hill training.

Hill workouts should be a part of all runner’s training. From short sprints to ultra-marathon, and everything in between. Every runner can gain strength and mechanical training from running hill reps.

Hill reps help improve a runner’s form simply because it is more difficult to run hill reps with poor technique. Running uphill will naturally push a runner to run on the front of their foot and give a slight lean forward. Most runners will naturally have a shorter stride moving uphill, which will also increase cadence. Practicing hill reps can bring similar mechanical advantages as strides by helping the runner improve their running form.

Hill reps are also beneficial to all runners by increasing the power needed to push off the ground. It can be similar to the value of strides with added strength training. You are fighting gravity and the grade in which the hill you chose. This, in turn, makes it more difficult to push and maintain speed up the hill.

Hill reps, when done correctly, can actually be slightly easier on the body compared to running a quality (or hard) workout session on flat terrain. This is because you are unable to reach as high of speeds and in return, your feet will not hit the ground with such force. Allowing the workout to be slightly easier on your muscles and connective tissues.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you have ever done downhill training you may have felt the workout itself being faster due to the help of gravity but afterward more tightness or soreness. In the same way that an uphill workout is easier on the body, downhill workouts can increase the impact force on those muscles and connective tissues.

Applying this to racing.

If you are going to run any race, hill workouts have their benefits as mentioned above. If you are going to run a race with elevation changes or even a net gain, then it is probably more crucial that you incorporate these workouts more regularly. This will not only make you more efficient at running the hill but also gives you a mental advantage as well.

Many runners like to find courses that are net downhill. The entire Revel Race series seems to target a demographic of runners wanting to chase Boston qualifiers or new PRs by creating extreme net downhill courses. Many runners who have done this, however, have found their legs extremely fatigued and beaten up before the end of the race, despite the net loss in elevation. This is due to the compounding impact force that running downhill for that long can have on one’s leg. If you are planning to run this type of course, then you need to train for it appropriately to truly gain the advantage you are seeking.

How to run hills.

If you are running uphill, you should lean forward slightly and shorten your stride. As mentioned above this will increase your cadence. As your power up the hill pump your arms to help drive your knees up. I like to imagine that a rope is tied around my midsection and I feel a person helping me to the top. Weirdly enough, this mental image makes the effort seem a touch easier and I keep my eye focused on the top of the hill.

If you are running down hill, you will find that some of the things you might naturally want to do can be counter productive. As runners start to feel the pull of gravity down a hill, many runners will lean back a bit. If you can keep a slight learn forward you will run down the hill with less effort. Letting the hill do more of the work for you. As you run, be very mindful of how your foot hits the ground. Some runners will take large steps, with a more prominent heal strike. This causes the surface area that hits the ground to be significantly smaller and the impact force greater on certain joints. Landing a bit softer and rolling into the step more will help spread out those forces and protect the legs longer.

Possible hill workouts.

Short Hill Reps (Less than 15 seconds)-Typically are done on a more steep hill. Shorter hill reps should be done at higher speeds which requires power and strength to perform. Running them at slower or moderate speeds will not yield the desired benefits. When performing shorter hill reps, generally you want to take a full recovery between each rep so that each additional hill rep is no more difficult than the first. This ensures you are building on the power you seek to gain from these hill reps. One way to incorporate short hill reps into your training is to complete them on an easy run day similar to strides. Complete 8x 10-second hill reps, pushing hard to the top of the hill. Focus on good running mechanics and walk down taking a full recovery between each. When done correctly and kept at paces that are anaerobic, no blood lactate is produced. This allows you to complete them on a non-workout day without negatively impacting subsequent workouts.

Moderate to long hill reps can be performed similarly to a workout or quality training session. Duration would be 15-60 seconds with the recovery depending on the energy system you are loading, similar to the effect as extended or shortened rest would impact a track workout.

If you are training for an ultra-marathon or a course you know will have a lot of elevation changes, it can be advantageous to find an area to run that has similar elevation changes. One example might be to find a mile loop that is more hilly to complete your mile repeats at. Adjusting your target time for the elevation changes. Another example, I have had my high school XC girls doing 1 km reps with the first 400 meters up a gradual incline to mimic the race we had coming up.

You can also complete downhill workouts to help your body adjust to a downhill course. Allowing those muscles and connective tissue that will be taking a greater amount of force to become ready for race day. One favorite of mine is downhill 800s, jogging easily back to the top as recovery. This was one that I first completed in a local group run. I thought the workouts sounded easy enough. For the first reps, I took off entirely too fast, trashing my legs. Over time, I got better at these workouts and found that they helped me tremendously tolerate the net downhill in races. I didn’t feel nearly as torn up as I had in previous races with similar elevation loss.

For many runners, hill workouts can be a bad word, or at least not a favorite workout to complete. They often aren’t as glamorous as flat workouts because the rep times are not as flashy. The value of these workouts, however, is worth the effort. All hills provide neuromuscular benefits, as long as you are practicing good form throughout. Along with cardivascular benefits.

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Boston Marathon Featured Runner-Kathy Labus #marathonmonday

I am so excited to start a new series featuring a different runner each week. Every Monday, until April, I will be featuring a runner that has qualified and currently training to run the Boston Marathon in April this year.

The Boston Marathon represents something special for many runners. As one of the oldest and most prestigious marathons. Earning the opportunity to even apply for entry is a honor and, marks an amount of commitment and sacrifice.

I am excited to give a voice and share the stories of a few of these runners. With each story unique and each journey filled with moments of success and moments of struggle. My hope is, each runners who shares will touch at least one person who is reading this. Gives one person hope.

I can’t wait to follow, cheer and celebrate these awesome individuals. Our first featured runner is Kathy

Athlete Name: Kathy Labus

Social Media Platforms: You can follow Kathy on both Facebook and Instagram (@kappyhooter)

  • Can you first, give us your Boston marathon story.
    • The story is the “journey” to Boston 2023.  I have run 4 marathons; 3 pushing my son with Cerebral Palsy and one solo, where I qualified for Boston on Nov. 6, 2021.  It was just 27 days after Andrew and I were a duo team in Chicago and finished in 4:42:52 on a red flag 80 degree day.  It was the first time we did a marathon in our new racing chair and without a team to assist, just us! The training went amazing and about a month out I said to my husband..”What if we spent our anniversary weekend in Indianapolis after Chicago, the boys are having surgery and maybe I could sneak in a marathon.”  We arrived on Wednesday where my son William had a heel cord lengthening surgery and Andrew had botox injections for his hand.” You see our twin sons were born at a pound and half each and at 19 have had 20 plus surgeries.  They recuperate and I got dropped off at zero dark thirty to run my first solo marathon. Somewhere in the 3:40 pace group early on, I said “I told my husband to pick me up by one”  the pacer said “Oh girl, you gonna be done way before one” That day I ran a BQ, I sobbed, grabbed a water and called my husband to pick me up.  After that, the registration for Boston 2022 came quick, I signed up, got in, got training and was so ready!
    • 30 days out from the race, on a Saturday morning, 37 degree, dark rainy run..I stepped in a hole and that was the end of the goal.  It took about 2 weeks to get a diagnosis.  A stress fracture of the calcaneus.  No weight bearing for 14 days and a cancelled Boston Marathon.  I went through denial, anger, extreme FOMO and then finally acceptance. This was not to be my year and not to be the Boston for me. I sold my jacket to a beautiful friend, watched the race and cheered my numerous friends that ran on that beautiful day last April.
    • I chose to recover as hard as I had trained and we as a family decided to make it a 2023 road trip to remember. It’s hard to not be superstitious and want to not jinx it, but it is harder to not shout it out that we are excited for this April. I mean what’s the worst thing that can happen, right? I’d rather live it loud, than be running in fear! Boston! Here we come!
  • What do you look forward to most, about running the Boston Marathon?
    • Getting to the starting line, with my bib on! Whatever happens in the race will be a celebration of the journey!
  • How will you define success, on race day?
    • Completion, but ultimately, getting there!
  • Do you have a favorite product, clothing, or tech that you use for racing or training?
    • I love my Topo running shoes and was an ambassador for years for them! #runnaturally
  • Any advice for someone trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon or training for their first Boston Marathon?
    • Hmmmm! Listen to those runners around you, soak up their stories from nutrition, clothing, training, success and failures. Then, take it all in, try everything and find what works for you. Next, sit there awhile, like for a few your engine, confidence, focus..then do it!
  • What part of the marathon do you find the most challenging?
    • Getting to the starting line just before the taper when all the training is deep and you are fatigued, but fitter than ever; listening to your body when you feel invincible.
  • What has been you favorite race (any distance) up until this point?
    • The Publix Atlanta Half! We have done it twice and will be there this February! We are part of 50 plus push assist teams!  We run with the Kyle Pease Foundation out of Atlanta, it is a magical start in the dark Atlanta morning and the hills are relentless! It’s gritty and a place where we can be with so many athlete teams like ourselves!
  • Do you have any pre-race routine, rituals or good luck charms?
    • I like Vietnamese Pho soup a day or two before the race! I envision the pile of rice noodles as a wonderful carbohydrate load and the salty bone broth as a boost to my body before battle!
  • What (or who) inspires you as a runner??
    • My twin sons absolutely inspire me! First, they encounter adversity every day, that I can never understand. Also, I run for them and others who can not! Lastly, when you give your running over to someone else, it changes the meaning of every step! This 127th Boston is technically a “solo” race and accomplishment for me!  There is no way this was a solo mission! Without my family and boys, there would be no road to Boston 2023! I am really excited and to quote a song from Lil Nas X“Why worship legends, when you know that you can join them”  I look forward to running the streets of Boston with all the legends, that are all of you that have a BQ and a dream

What an amazing start to our series. Thank you so much for sharing your story and I look forward to following you on Marathon Monday.

Make sure you are following RunCanvas so that you can hear more amazing stories over the next couple months!

Run with me in 23~! My 2023 New Years Resolutions.

I hate that resolutions are so cliche and many people cringe when they hear the word resolutions. That’s not me. I will continue to work and grow as a person through small behavioral changes that will hopefully build long term healthy habits that will leave me feeling more fullfilled.

One of my goals is to race at least 5 races this year. These will be strategically placed to keep up motivation and include some of my past favorites. I know I would love to race the KC marathon, and hopefully squeeze in a half marathon this spring as starters. The other races are a bit undecided and will depend on how my body responds to training ahead.

My second goal is to support my running with ancillary components such as mobility and “pre-hab” running drills that will help me be a more injury my resilient runner as the mileage begins to climb. Staring small with 3-5 key exercises twice a week I will build on these as the year progresses.

My third goal is to be a more social runner again. Running brought me more than the physical gifts. It gave me an entire community and life long friends. I miss that, so very much. I want begin joining my friends and group runs again. Starting small with twice a month as I have other commitments. My goal is to be able to attend 1-2 weeks as those commitments end and I continue to take things off my plate that I no longer find fullfilling.

My final goal is to share my journey. I hope by sharing my journey I can grow my running community, support other runners and add a bit of accountability to my own running. The race may be the destination but the journey is where the real adventure takes place.

What are your goals for 2023? Share them below!

I look forward to more weekly post. Follow my journey with weekly recaps each Sunday . You can also follow me on social media for daily posts. On Mondays I will be starting a new series, featuring runners who have qualified for the Boston Marathon and plan to toe the line at Hopkington in April. Wednesdays I will be sharing running advice as a certified running coach.

Be sure to stay up to date with all of these new posts by following me on social media and subscribing below!

Running Resolutions? You will never regret reaching your goals!

For many of us, the holiday season is in the rear view mirror and this is the time we begin to reflect on the last year of our life. We think about what went well and things we would like to change. It’s natural as we close another chapter. Looking ahead to someting new and hopefully even better.

Are you making health and fitness a new years resolution this year? It’s pretty easy for runners to begin thinking about a shiny new PR or two they would like to take down. My favorite results involve attainable goals that focus on the behavior verse the outcome.

Unfortunately, 92% of those who set resoultions fail at reaching them. With many failing before February. So, what do the 8% that do reach their goals do differently?

  • Choose a specific goal- put a number on it. Being more specific will give you a metric to gauge success. Instead of saying, I want to be more fit. Try I will increas my weekly mileage by 10% or I will add in stregnth training 2x per week.
  • Don’t change everything at once- focus on 1-2 attainable goals and really build a habit of change. Trying to focus on too much and overhaul your entire life will come crumbling down. When you set your resolution you are really being intentional about life changes. This can be overwhelming.
  • Plan for set backs-There will be set backs. Have a goal that allows you to assess, reassess and pivot. Your human and life will happen. Have a plan that will help you stay on track.
  • Take time to plan for success- what does success look like and how will you reach it? What systems are in place to support your goals. If your goal includes a new training component, a new distance or chasing a PR how will you get their? Go out and find a training plan or resources to put into place. Utilize a running coach that can both help you plan for sucess and help you through set backs.
  • Start with small steps- Going from zero to sixty is a sure way to fall and not get back up. If you are currently running 2-3 times a day, then start with getting consistent with 3 days of running and add in a 4th once you have established a pattern of sucess. If you manage that then build to a 5th day if you would like. If you are looking to add strength training start with a small block of time that won’t make it feel overwhelming to add to your already busy schedule. Having success will fuel you to continue working and building on your goals.
  • Have a support system- Have a running buddy, accountability person to keep you on track and support you and even partner with you through your journey. This is another way a coach can really help. Someone to check in and nudge you along the way.
  • Put a bit of money down- make a financial commitment to your goal. This can be signing up for a race or booking that travel package. Invest in yourself by working with someone that will give you the tools to help you reach your goal; a dietician, physical therapist, strength trainer or run coach. It’s about giving yourself that additional inventive to work toward and achieve the goal as you have put your hard earned money into it. Increasing its significance.

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VDOT 02 Training App Review

As a Vdot Certified running coach, I rely on the VDOT app to push out workouts for my runners and communicate regularly. As many people head into the New year they may be looking for new tools to help them reach their next big goal.

I am going to take today to share some of the details and features of the app that would be useful for a runner looking to add more accountability and structure to their training plan. This can be done with or without the help of a coach.

Here is a quick overview of the features offered by the application.

  • Free to runners- downloading and using the VDot app is free and can be used by someone who is looking to create and log their own training.
  • Phone and desktop applications- you can use the app on your phone or access your VDOT calendar through your web browser. Personally, when I am loading workouts I prefer the web-based program. The phone app is great for on-the-go communication and having the workouts in the palm of your hand.
  • Smart Pacing- when you enter your data it creates a VDOT score based on Jack Daniels running formula. Your Vdot score helps to set your pace for a variety of workouts. The program offers three types of running workouts; easy, quality and race. Within the quality session the program has paces based on your Vdot score from the Jack Daniel’s formula, these include; repetition (R-pace), Interval (I-pace), Threshold (T-pace), Marathon pace, Easy pace (conversation or recovery pace). This makes programming almost any workout seamless and quick.

Your VDOT score is based on the successful running coach, Jack Daniels, running formula. This score is best calculated by a recent race but can also use other factors and be manually updated.

This score is then used to set up your training paces for a variety of workouts.

  • Customization – While the program has tons of options already built into the application that most runners can use to complete an entire training program. The program offers a lot of customization options as well. You can add new pacing types for any additional workouts you would like to complete. You can upload links and videos to the individual workout session. You can create customized cross-training including details strength training programs.
    • I have used this to load a run into my training calendar and a fun mobility video to complete afterward. This allows me to be out where ever I am and have that video in my workout calendar.
  • Compatibility-The data from your smartwatch can be brought into the VDot app. You can also use Strava. Giving you a single place to look at training plans, workout data, and feedback. It becomes the best digital running/workout journal. Making it even better, depending on your model of watch. You can sync the workouts to your watch and have the watch notify you of pacing and timing intervals. This makes doing structured workouts much easier. Taking you off the track and not constantly checking your GPS watch for pacing and time intervals.
  • Growth– Since I have started using this appliction, the product team has been great about taking feedback and suggestion and making them a reality. This program will only improve with time.

How to get even more out of the VDOT training app?

Work with a certified run coach who will be able to program all training directly into your personal Vdot calendar. Communication, details, and even videos or link can be pushed out to your personal device. Giving access to high-quality run coaching anywhere you are.

  • If you are interested in working with me as a VDOT-certified running coach click here!

The run coach pays a premium to use the app with additional features. These features share your workout data (pulled from Strava or your GPS watch) and give accuracy scores and details. This allows your coach to further customize your training. Cookie-cutter plans only take you so far. You need a plan catered to your individual needs.

I am not the only running coach available on the VDOT application. I would absolutely love to help you reach your next goal. However, if you would like to explore other options, check out the VDOT market place.

Treadmill Running-Change your mindset

Hate the treadmill? You may have noticed me refer to the treadmill as the dreadmill on many occasions on social media and strava. I have had some seriously terrible workouts on the treadmill due to nothing more than boredom. I have found recently that the biggest factor of poor treadmill workouts, was myself.

Treadmills are a tool that helps you reach your goals. Change your mental game and your experience.

So, as we move into 2023 I am choosing to change my mindset. I am choosing to look at the value my treadmill brings to my training and helping me reach my goals. Some of the things I can immediately think of;

  • Run while the baby sleeps! I can get in a workout while the baby is safely asleep in his crib. I keep a watchful eye on him with my phone and can run guilt free.
  • Temperature control, hello record breaking windchills this week! Yikes and no thank you. I would love for some beautiful winter weather to allow me to hit the trails but I am no longer as “hard core” as I was about avoiding the treadmill at all cost. I enjoy a warm cup of coffee and easy run on the treadmill.
  • Safety, running at night used to be my thing. Runs at 10pm-midnight in the summer are so refreshing when the temps are super hot. Without a running partner, however, they are just not a safe option. Along with outdoor condition including lightning, hail and ice. My treadmill offers me a safe opotutnity to continue to reach my goals.
  • Measure growth- the treadmill remains consistent and becomes a great way to maintain variables that may change with outdoor running. Many runner worry that biomechanical differences between ground and treadmill running will make indoor running sub-par training. Research indicates however, that outcomes were not significantly different between the two.
  • Treadmills are easier on your joints- As I age I am definitely noticing things taking a greater toll on my body. I am not sure if its just the aging process though. After my second pregnacy I feel more physically taxed from running in my joints. The treadill deck gives a softer surface and can possibly lower risk of injuires that come from running on harder surfaces such as concreate and asphalt (read more).

Now I value my treadmill, that does not make time move any faster. The next step is to look for ways to make treadmill running more fun. I have found that if I am running on the treadmill for more than a couple days in a row, I have to mix up my strategies or they become stale. Here is a few things I like to do;

  • Listen to music– put together a kick ass play list and start jamming as the miles move along. I have a list of guilty pleasure songs that I love to rock out to when no one is watching. Que up Barbie Girl, Wanna be and OG NSYNC. I can dance (terribly) and sing in the privacy of my own basement. Put on a concert for my poor doggies and have a little bit of fun. Just be careful not to get too wild and fall off the treadmill.
  • Watch a favorite show- Bring on the bing netflix of hulu. Think of that one show that you can not stop watching. When the episode is over you have to start the next becuase you are always left on the edge of your seat. Depending on your set up you can stream most shows through your TV, Ipad, phone and other devices. My last binge show was Handmaids Tale. It was the train wreck I couldn’t take my eyes off of. Watching a show you are really into allows your mind to focus on something other than how long each mile is taking to pass you by.
  • Fartlek Fun-Fartlek is german for speed play. It’s an unstructured workout with pace adjustments at random intervals. As you get bored change up the speed a bit getting in a mix of upbeat paces, strides and slow recovery. Becareful not to add an aditional quality session to your training plan. Change it up enough to break of the monotony that can come with stationary running.
  • Treadmill technology– many treadmills are coming with training programs or allow you to visually run popular routes. If your treadmill doesn’t have this option you can also pair with a device and apps. Strava for example can be paired with a footpod and you can visual run some famous courses. Virutal treadmill classes are another fun option.
  • Quality sessions- when setting up your calendar its best to choose which wokrouts will be done on the treadill if you can. Longer intervals, steady state runs and race pace workouts are going to be better fit for the treadill verse workouts that have alot of changes in speed over little time intervals. The treadmill belt doesn’t change speeds as quickly as we can, so completing a short 200m rep session isn’t ideal. However, working on some longer threshold or marathon pace is perfect for the treadmil as the treadmill can hold a single pace consistently for you.

Stuck indoors? Here are a couple of fun treadmill runs to try

  • Marathon Pace
    • Beginner- Get in 5-10 minutes easy warm up, complete 2 sets 5-10 minutes at marathon pace with 2 minutes easy recovery between each. Finished with 5-10 minutes easy coold down
    • Advanced- 2 miles at easy pace, 2 sets pf 2-4 miles at marathon pace (recovery 1 minute per mile at pace), 2 miles cool down.
  • Threshhold running
    • Beginner- 10 minute easy to warm up, 3 x 5 minutes at threshold pace with 1 minute recovery between each, 10 minute cool down nice and easy.
    • Advanced- 1-2 mile warm up, 2×2 mile at threshold pace (2 minute recovery jog), 1-2 mile coold down.
  • Ladder
    • Beginner-Warm up 10-15 minutes then complete 2 minutes hard/1 minute easy, 3 minutes hard/2 minutes easy, 4 minutes hard/ 3 minutes easy. You can repeat or go back down the ladder to add distance. Coold down 10-15 minutes
    • Adavanced- 1-2 mile warm up, 400 m hard (R-Pace)/400 m easy, 800 m hard (I pace)/ 400 m easy, 1 mile hard (T pace) 1 minute easy. Repeat ladder or go back down to add distance. 1-2 mile cool down
  • Progression Run
    • Beginner or advanced-Start at the back end of your easy pace and increase the speed by .5 mph every 2-3 minutes. You can repeat to add volume/distance.

One final tip to help make treadmill running more successfull. Count your miles down. Studies have shown that counting up is psychologically more challenging for most runner compared ot counting down.

Running on Ice and Snow-Screw your shoes!

It’s that time of year, where we begin to see an increase of ice and snow as heading deeper into the winter months, here in KC. When the footing becomes uncertain on ice and snow packed roads, I always recomend my runners put sheet metal screws into a pair of their running shows.

What is the benefit of adding sheet metal screws? Adding the sheet metal screws increases traction. The shape of the screws will sort of bite into the slick surfaces. The process is very quick and easy with very little cost compared to other options.

Selecting screws

Hexagonal sheet metal screws are your best option. The head of the screws have a slight lift, paired with the shape allows the screw to bit into slick surfaces. When choosing size, you do not want anything longer that 1/2″ in length, as you will be screwing them directing into the bottom of your shoes. My personal preference is the 3/8″, they stay in just fine and they are not quite as long so I am less nervous about feeling them. If you have really thin shoes you might prefer 1/4″ bit I have had 1 or 2 fall out on occasion.

Adding your screws

  • First you will need a pair of running shoes and a power drill. You could definelty screw these in by hand, but I wouldn’t recomend it.
  • Start by lookig that the wear pattern on your shoes. Areas that are more worn down are a good starting point. (Note-if your shoes have air pockets or gel pockets avoid these ares) If you have thinner shoes, you may also want to stick to the perimeter.
  • Using your power drill, insert the screws directly into the riased tread of you shoes. Adding a few in front half and back half of hte bottom of your shoes. Insert the screws directly, until the head of the screw is barely touching the rubber. Don’t over tightned. You should not see any indentations or compressions from the screws. If you do, using your powerdrill, back the screws out a tad.
  • Your particular shoes and running mechanics can help determine how best to place the screws. It isn’t super complicated though, don’t over think it. Example, I land mostly on the mid to front of my shoes and roll inward. So that is where we placed a majority of the screws. I land very lightly on my heels, but still added a few to help with elevation changes. My friend is more a a heel striker and adds more to the back side of his shoes.
  • You don’t need to go crazy, I have seen a range. As few as three screws and as many as 20. I think 6-8 is sufficient.
  • Test out your screws before the run. When you are standing in your shoes on a hard surface you shoun’t feel the screws. If you do, remove the screw and reposition.

Other options to screwig your shoes?

Ice Spikes-If you are looking for other options to running on snow and ice, the best option is to use Ice Spikes. IceSpikes are the same basic idea as adding screws to your shoes.  These were just designed and marketed specifically for the purpose of adding them to the bottom of your shoes.  Even the design is very similar to Hex head screws.  The cons to ice spikes is that I would have to order them and wait for them to arrrive. They cost more than hex screws. Ice spikes are supposed to stay in longer and be more secure than screws. I have lost 1 screw in the years of screwing my shoes so this isn’t a major concern for me. Both stayed on securely. The pros to Ice spikes do help a touch better on super icy condition, biting a bit more into the ice than the hex screws alone.

Yaktrax- Yaktraxs are a traction device that you add over your running shoes. There are models that are marketed specifically for running shoes.The pros for Yaktrax. Yaktrax are lot easier to put on and off compared to ice spikes or screws. They just slip on over your shoes.  The cons for Yaktrax.They cost significantly more, and I haven’t seen them in any local stores.  You would most likely need to order them online.  I also felt like they didn’t move as naturally as my screwed running shoes.  Other runners have reported that snow can get stuck in the middle, cause them to have to stop and scoop them out.  This may be dependent on the model you choose, the problem was mostly with the coiled style.  The style while coils don’t “bite” the ice well, especially if you are a lighter weight runners.  You just don’t have enough force to break into the ice.

If you have mixed conditions, I think the screws are your best option.  When we hit dry patches there was no adjusting, just a tad bit more noise.  Even with the screws, be smart and slow your pace down a tad. Be more vigilant about watching cars in questionable weather.  Have fun!

My name is Janell- I am a mother, teacher, runner and running coach. I love to help others work toward their goals. If you would like work with a running coach check out the Vdot

Have you been thinking about working with a running coach but not sure if its right for you? Let’s chat over the phone or via zoom to see if working with RunCanvas coaching is the right choice for you.

 I am a VDot  Certified coach with over 12 years of coaching experience! I have worked with young beginners in the middle school level, high school athletes who have gone on to compete at national Division I championships, and adults runners of all abilities.   For more information click here

Here’s the best-selling guide to taking care of your runner.

Do you have a runner in your life? This fun, friendly guide to runners prepares you for this tough but terrific time. From the basics – housebreaking, feeding, training – to the latest on runner care, supporting your runner, and the new designer breeds of runners. You get everything you need to understanding their odd behaviors.

This is the final chapter of a series, be sure to check out the first four chapter (linked below)!

Chapter 5- Taking care of your sick or injured runner


Runner loves to run, and when they can’t run, the struggle with more than just physical symptoms.  In this chapter we are going to look at runners habits, what NOT to say and things you can do when you runner is injured or ill.

Runners lack a reasonable amount of subjectivity about their injury or illness. Runners DO NOT want to admit they have an injury and will refuse to acknowledge the severity of the pain.  Many runners will avoid seeking medical advice in fear that they will be told not to run. Once the finally given and recognize that they do have an injury that requires some time off, even one day off, can begin to fill your runner with anxieties about missing runs and loosing fitness.

Here is a quick infograph on determining whether the pain your runner is experiencing is regular muscle soreness or an injury.

So, now you have determined that you runner is injured and will need some time away from running to heal.  Here is a list of things NOT to say to your runner, while they are sidelined.

  • You should (bike, elliptical, cross fit or other activity that is not running.) We know these activities are an option, and sure many runners will do them to maintain their fitness.  Runners like to run and these other activities are not running.
  • Have your tried (rest, ice, compression, tape, foam rolling, cupping, magic unicorn farts…). Unless you are a medical professional, than most of this advice is redundant and annoying. You mean well, but of course your runner has heard of ice and stretching.
  • That happened to (other person) and they had to (insert large amount of time or scary medical intervention). This is just mean, your runner is stressed and probably already coming up with worse case scenarios in his/her head. Adding anecdotal stories only increases your runners anxieties and gives no real help.
  • You run too much anyways. Don’t say this! Who gets to decide how much is too much. Sure, it may be an injury from over training, but that just means your runner progressed slightly faster than his/her body could adapt.injured-meme
  • It’s only running. Your runner is aware of bigger world problems, but running is still important. Running offers a lot of benefits physical and emotionally to runners and not being able to run is hard. Please don’t belittle your runner this way.
  • I googled your symptoms and I think (insert non-medical advice you found on Google MD) Again, your runner should only be getting medical advice from a liscensed medical professional. So many things can be symptoms or signs of multiple problems.  Misdiagnosis can further injure your runner.
  • I told you running is bad for your/See this is why I don’t run. Running is not bad for you, or our knees. There are far worse things than running.
  • Now you’ll have time for other hobbies. Your right, I could become a serial killer! Just kidding, but really, I don’t have other hobbies. My hobbies include running, sleeping and eating. When I can run, the other two just make me a bum.

Your injured runner needs support.  Try to be available to your runner without pushing the subject.  Maybe think of activities that you and your runner can enjoy together and invite them along.  If you notice your runner isn’t better after a week of rest, I strongly encourage you take them to see a medical professional.  Once your runner is beginning to feel stronger, it is important to discuss preventative measures so that you runner can safely return to running. Encourage your runner to return to running slowly, train on a variety of surfaces and complete some basic strength training exercise to increases muscle imbalances.


Tips for taking care of your sick runner

Just like injuries, your runner will not want to admit they are sick.  They don’t like missing runs.  There are some minor illnesses that your runner can continue to run through, backing off intensity or mileage may still be a good idea though.  The general rule is symptoms above the neck are safe to run through.  Things like stuffy nose and sneezing are not put your runner at risk.

When you runner is sick, the immune system must work hard to fight off possible infections.  The body will wear down easier and energy levels may decrease.  If symptoms persist or get worse a couple of days, taking a break is probably best.

Please be careful with anti-inflammatory drugs and your runner.  They many not be as helpful as you think.  Check it out here, for more information.

Thank so much for reading! If you missed the previous Chapters be sure to check them out using the links below

Interested in working with a Running Coach?

I am a VDot  Certified coach with over 14 years of coaching experience! Having worked with young beginners in the middle school level, and high school athletes who have gone on to compete at national Division I championships. I have designed training plans for runners who are just starting, reaching for new distances, Boston Qualifiers and those looking to earn a spot at the Marathon Olympic trials.
Completely customized plans that are developed at your current fitness level to get you to your goals. 

 For more information click here

Understanding Runners for Dummies- Chapter 4 “Traveling with your runner”

Here’s the best-selling guide to taking care of your runner.

Do you have a runner in your life? This fun, friendly guide to runners prepares you for this tough but terrific time. From the basics – housebreaking, feeding, training – to the latest on runner care, supporting your runner, and the new designer breeds of runners. You get everything you need to understanding their odd behaviors.

This is Chapter 4 of a series, be sure to check out Chapter 1 , Chapter 2 and Chapter 3

Chapter 4- traveling with your runner

Traveling can be an exciting and stressful time for your runner. The first trips are especially stressful.  Before you leave town, you need to understand that whether you are traveling for a race or for vacation, your runner plans to run during the trip.  Following these simple tips can help alleviate frustration and stress, for both you and your runner.

Planning ahead- Discuss with your runner the location and duration of the trip.  If the trip is not centered around racing, your runner will still want to run.  Discuss some options with your runner, maybe getting the long run or harder workouts out of the way before the trip or scheduling a down week while you’re out of town. This will allow your runner to more fully enjoy their time without hurting their training goals.  Check out the hotel amenities and running routes in the area to see what options will be available for your runner when you arrive in town. Safety first! It may be fun for your runner to join a local running store or group run.   Plan on your runner getting their run done first thing in the morning. While they are running, take some you time.  This will allow the stress of a run to be out of the way and your runner can enjoy their vacation more fully.  If you are traveling for a race, you need to plan some time to visit the expo.

Arriving/Departing– As soon as you arrive in town, have your runner sync their watch.  This will help avoid standing around waiting later.  This is especially helpful if you and your runner are traveling for a race.  Waiting until the start of the race is NOT the best time to sync a watch.  Traveling to and from can have your runner sitting for long periods of time, compression sleeves and other compression products are great for keeping  you runner comfortable.  Carry on all running essentials. This is extremely important if your runner is racing.

Eating- The advice for eating will greatly vary, depending on the purpose of your vacation.  If you are traveling for a race, you need to stick with simple and similar dishes leading up to the race.  Eating and traveling can cause a lot of tummy troubles for your runner and can cause some very embarrassing bathroom issues during their race.  Planning ahead and looking up restaurants can save your runner from this.  All runners can benefit from packing healthy snacks and eating a healthy breakfast at the hotel to help them get through their day.

*Check out this post on hacks on healthy food hacks that you can use while running.  My favorite is the hard boiled eggs in a coffee maker.

Racing- If you are traveling for a race, there are extra steps you can take to help your runner have a successful trip.  Leading up to the race, encourage hydration and look for activities that don’t have your runner on their feet for long periods of time.  Packing runner friendly food for the trip will help prevent bouts of “hangriness.”  If it can be avoided, traveling the day before the race and immediately after the race will greatly help your runner.  Renting a house or apartment can be a great way to save some money and help your runner prepare more healthful options.

Traveling should be an enjoyable for both our and your runner.  Taking these extra steps will help alleviate possible frustrations along the way.
Thank you so much for reading! Let me know if you have any other great traveling tips for runners.  Be ready for the last chapter of “Runners for Dummies” tomorrow!

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Interested in working with a Running Coach?
I am a VDot  Certified coach with over 14 years of coaching experience! Having worked with young beginners in the middle school level, and high school athletes who have gone on to compete at national Division I championships. I have designed training plans for runners who are just starting, reaching for new distances, Boston Qualifiers and those looking to earn a spot at the Marathon Olympic trials.
Completely customized plans that are developed at your current fitness level to get you to your goals.   For more information click here
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