Understanding Running Economy

I’m not going to lie. I really nerd out when I get to teach my middle school kiddos concepts that I can relate to running, or exercising in some way . We have been recently learning about how our body converts food energy into a usable form of energy called adenine triphosphate, or ATP. This process is called cellular respiration.img_2269

Our body goes through two types of cellular respiration, aerobic and anaerobic. Most adults have heard of the two different types of exercises before. Aerobic respiration occurs when the body uses oxygen while anaerobic occurs without the use of  oxygen. The difference is mostly dependent on the pace and duration you are going when you are exercising.

The difference also breaks down the different types of fuel the body can use as fuel and how quickly. This can help a weight conscious runner fuel more effectively and still maintain energy through the training cycle. This can also help runners understand running economy.

What is running economy?

selective focus photography of gasoline nozzle
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An overly simplified analogy, commonly used,to understand running economy is fuel economy of a car. Which is, how much fuel it takes to get your car to travel a specific distance. The difference is the fuel used when talking about running economy is calories and oxygen. As both are ingredients for the same aerobic process for cellular respiration they are fairly interchangeable and most often the consumption of oxygen is the primary focus. However, there can be some slight variation depending on the fuel source being used, such as carbohydrates being easier to break down than fat.  That is why endurance athletes will turn to simple sugars for mid race fuel,  because it is a more economical fuel source .

Why is it important?

Running economy is a measurable factor that plays a role in performance outcome . Essentially, the more economical a runner is at a given speed the better they become. There are of course other factors, both physiological and psychological that will play in the outcome of an athletes performance.img_1265

Running economy is often looked at alongside a runners VO2 max . Which is another measurable factor the plays a role in performance outcome. If you have two runners A&B, both having the same VO2 max, but runner B has a better running economy. Most likely, runner B will also have a better performance than runner A. The difference is seen in greater proportions in the long distance races verse middle distance.


Can you improve running economy?

Absolutely! Simple things like increasing a runners mileage base can improve running economy. One training aspect often neglected or even avoided by runners is strength training, which is an excellent way to improve running economy.  Greatly undervalued and non-time consuming form drills , strides and short intervals are other great ways to improve running economy.   The development of running economy can be quite simple or complex depending on the need of the individual runner.

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Running tips for rainy weather

Yesterday I gave a super short post on the benefits of heading outside in less than ideal conditions for a training run. Train for the worst, so you can run your best!  Whether your goal race is Boston Marathon or a smaller scaled local race. You are taking time to prepare for that race and you should develop skills that make you a more well rounded runner. Practicing in the elements allows you to be prepared for a variety of race days conditions along with making you a mentally stronger runner no matter what race day brings.  So put on your big girl ( or big boy) pants and run in the rain!

Here are some tips to make running in the rain, more enjoyable.

  • Wear a slicker! A vented rain jacket that will allow air to flow through while also keeping you dry. These things can trap a lot of body heat as you get running, so don’t worry about finding one that offers any sort of warmth or insulation. You will not want that additional warmth during a warm summer rain.
  • Dress for the temperatures-  It easy to see the cooler rain and want to add an on extra layers. However, you will warm up, the rain jacket will trap in your body heat and you begin sweating, it will only make the problem worse.  Dress as you would for the weather, if it were not raining, and then add on your shell/slicker.
  • Keep your head dry!   Wear a hat with a brim to keep your head dry and water out of your eyes while you are running. If it’s raining a bit harder and you have a slicker, pull the hood up as well.
  • Be Visible!  It’s always a good idea for runners to think about visibility for safety reasons, but it is even more imperative when it is raining and visibility is lowered.  My rain jacket is bright orange, its not a fashion statement.
  • Say no to chaffing! Pre-lube/Body Glide up any areas that have caused issue in the past. Just in case, I carry a Chapstick size body lube in my flip belt when on longer runs so that I can touch up any hot spots.
  • Take care of your feet.  While shoes are usually the star of the show, in rainy weather it is all about the socks.   Avoid cotton and stick with socks that are specifically designed for running.  I absolutely love my Swiftwick socks on rainy days. They are thinner and have never caused an issue.
  • Ditch the electronics. Even the best laid plans can fail. My sweet husband put his phone in a Ziplock bag and water still managed to get in and ruin his phone.  I am pretty sure I assured him it would be fine, too.
  • Change immediately after your run. Even if you aren’t cold yet,  as your body temperature cools back down you will get cold very quickly.  A nice warm shower will do wonders, also.
  • Consider loops- On long rainy runs, I will complete shorter loops allowing me to dress or undress as the weather changes. Change socks or shoes if any blisters start creeping in and towel off my face or anything else to keep the run more comfortable.
  • Most importantly, Have fun!  Bring back the inner child and have a little bit of fun with it.  Toward the end of your run splash in a few puddles and pretend the rain drops are lemon drops and gum drops.  Choose to have a great run!



What are your favorite running weather conditions? What are your least favorite conditions? Comment below!  If you enjoy the content, check out some of my other posts! Be sure to subscribe for more!



Need a coach to help you reach your running goals?

VDot certified! I am a VDot  Certified coach with over  10 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 about customized training plans or private coaching opportunities click here  for pricing and package check it out here


Train for the worst, so you can run your best!

Rain, wind, snow and yo-yo temperatures.  It seems like we experienced all four seasons in the 48 hour weekend here in KC. The only thing predictable about Midwest weather, is that it is quite unpredictable.  So while many athletes are taking it indoors.  As long as safety isn’t compromised, I encourage my athletes to head outdoors and brave the elements most of the time.   Train through the worst conditions, so on race day, you can run your best.

When you are prepared for everything, you will be scared of nothing.  Now that it is April and we are nearing Marathon Monday (Boston Marathon).  What a better example of goal races with less than ideal weather conditions.  I had a great number of friends in attendance last year many with stories of triumphs and some with stories of misery.  Ok, maybe a few whose story included both.

Some runners were prepared, mentally tough and forged through gross conditions with new PRs or remarkable stories of overcoming adverse conditions. Not to mention huge bragging rights to saying they were at the historic 2018 Boston Marathon.

It’s not a complete correlation, but athletes who are willing to go out in less than ideal conditions and avoid making excuses during training.  They will fair far better when things go wrong on race day. It’s a little bit about learning to run in those weather conditions and much more about building mental fortitude. There are races that will be hotter than ideal, raining, windy or freezing.  Prepare yourself for all possibilities and remember every chance to run is a chance to get better!


Running in crappy weather gives you bragging rights as well! Some of the times my running friends laugh the hardest about are the crappy weather days.  My friend Ben and I ran into ice pelting us in the face, what seemed no matter what direction we ran.  With a bit of morbid sarcasm me manged through and frequently joke about our match with the ninja star snow.

Last summer I had a run, that for some reason I was absolutely dreading.  With heavy winds and rain forecasted, I wanted to do anything else but run.  It took some serious will power to get started and I reflect back on that run as a break through run for me. I ran fast and felt good after a bit of a stale period. Subsequent runs went remarkable well, also.  It may have been just the mental break from ungodly heat that I needed.

So get outside and face the challenge. When you are done, raise your head proud because you are a bad ass runner!

I have already posted tips for running in the winter. Check it out!  I plan to follow up with tips for running in the rain tomorrow, training tips for the heat later this week and then how and when to adjust your workouts when it is windy.


Need a coach to help you reach your running goals?

VDot certified! I am a VDot  Certified coach with over  10 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 about customized training plans or private coaching opportunities click here  for pricing and package check it out here

RunCanvas Ready Made Training Plans!

Great for beginners to advanced!

RunCanvas offers multiple options for each race distances.  Periodized run training plans based on the foundations of legendary coach Jack Daniels. This comprehensive plan goes beyond running to include; dynamic warm ups, running form drills, and no weights strength training.

Runner assessment done either via email (most common and usually quickest option) or phone call will help your RunCanvas certified running coach set your plan up to meet you at your current fitness (pacing and weekly mileage).  The plan is then uploaded into the VDOT training app with and paces calculated by the VDOT calculator.  If you get in lead up races along the way, paces can be updated to match your new fitness levels and increases your training stimulus.  Taking your from where you are now, to where you want to be!

Self-motivation and individual commitment are required for this plan. A weekly follow up email is optional for athletes who have questions about the structure or function of their training.


 RunCanvas 5K & 10K  Ready Made Training Plans

  • Beginner (5k only) training- 12 weeks- Plans starts at 3 runs per week with 15 minutes of running in a single session
  • Low Mileage athlete plan- 15 weeks- for runners who are lower mileage, this plan starts at 15 miles per week with 3 miles completed in a single session.
  • Introduction to speed work- 18 weeks-this plan starts at 22 miles per week with a single long run of 5 miles.  Base building phase included before introducing speed/quality sessions.
  • Introduction to speed work 2- Similar to previous plan, for athletes who have established a mileage foundations of 30 miles per week and a 6 mile run in a single session

RunCanvas Half Marathon Ready Made Training Plans

  • Beginner training plans
    • 20 weeks-  plan starts at 20 miles per week with a long run of 4 miles in a single session
    • 17 weeks-plan starts at 25 miles per week with a long run of 6 miles  in a single session
    • 15 weeks-plan starts at 30 miles per week with a long run of 7 miles in a single session
  • Intermediate training plans
    • 18 weeks-plan starts at 35 miles per week with a long run of 4 miles in a single session
    • 16 weeks-plan starts at 40 miles per week with a long run of 10 miles in a single session
  • Advanced training plans-
    • TBD

RunCanvas Marathon Ready Made Training Plans

  • 10 different levels of plans, designed to meet the runner at their current fitness level. 12-24 weeks depending on the athletes current fitness. Some plans will include a base building phase while other jump right into the quality session. Minimum miles of 20 miles per week for base building, quality session (intervals) will not begin until the runner has a base of 35 miles per week. I recommend that you make an effort to run 5 days each week, 6 or 7 is better.  More details to come…

RunCanvas High School Summer Training Ready Made Plans

  • This 12 weeks program is designed to prepare students for a successful Cross Country Season.

    Safely increasing the runners mileage base will progressively transitioning speed work that is designed to adapt a runners current track fitness into a fitness level that meets the specific demands of a cross country runner

    Ancillary components, beyond daily run training also included. These are designed to build a stronger and more injury resistant runner. Ancillary training components include;
    +strength training (w/ or w/o weights)
    + Running Form Drills
    +Dynamic warm ups
    +and more!

    Initial consultation will be conducted so that the certified coach can identify the current fitness levels and match athlete to the best fit plan

  • Plan is designed with 5 different levels of fitness. Before an athlete can begin the base plan, they should be able to complete 20 miles of running per week with 4 miles of running in a single session. Athletes who are at a higher fitness level will be given a higher tiered plan to match their fitness abilities

Ready to start working toward your next PR?!


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Hard working runners, who could accidentally be sabotaging their run training.

Training for a goal race requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and some sacrifice.  Most runners working toward a goal have great intentions, every time they set out to complete a run or workout.  However, there are times when the things they are doing can actually be more harm that good. Below are a few examples of things that runners do, hoping to improve their running, that may actually do the opposite.

  • Trying to copy other runners-  GPS watches and apps that allow us to virtually stalk our favorite elite runners has many runners trying to copy the workouts of elites.  The problems?  The workouts aren’t made for the fitness level of an everyday runner.  Copying a workout, without taking into consideration the purpose of the workout and scaling the pace, rest and volume of the session can lead to missing the desired training stimulus.  These workouts do not happen in a vacuum, but are a part of a detail balanced training plan.  Training this way is short sighted and can leave an athlete burnt out, over trained or injured.
  • A case of the “toos” – Too much, too soon, too fast! With great intentions, over zealous runners will jump into an intense training plan upping the paces and volume without giving the body time to adapt and recover from previous training.  This will often yield quick short term results, but end in over training and injury leaving the athletes taking longer duration of time off to recover and loosing the progress gained. How many of us have seen a runner stuck on the injury roller coaster.  Are you guilty yourself?
  • Running through pain- The old school notion of “no pain, no gain” can be greatly incorrect when it comes to pain that creeps into a run and doesn’t go away.  Runners who are reluctant to take a small break or cut back in mileage find themselves sidelined with a much greater injury.  It’s better to take a little time now, then a lot of time later.  Here is a previous post about trying to identify injury verse soreness.  
  • Racing the workout- This goes back to my soap box saying, Every run has a purpose. Understanding that sound training principal is key to successful training. When runners complete workouts at appropriate paces and listen to their bodies more, they feel better, improve and usually enjoy the process more.  In a previous post, “Stop beating the workout” I gave a mathematical example of a runner who averaged a workout faster than another but gained less of the desired training stimulus.  Coaches like Lydiard go even less by the watch but by training a runner to learn appropriate efforts and design a workout to be completed when the desired effort and fatigue is reached. Going beyond the training stimulus creates a larger deficit for the athlete to recover from, subsequently negatively impact future workouts/runs.
  • Not trusting your coach or training plan- This isn’t to say, that there aren’t poorly designed training plans or coaches. However, there are times when runners get caught up in comparing the workouts and training they are completing with others and they freak out.  They begin to sabotage their own training. I am guilty of second guessing my own training, after watching other girls crush workouts and assume greater fitness. Some runners are workout all stars, this doesn’t always translate to race day.  Another example of not trusting ones training comes at the end of a training cycle and a nervous runner tries to cram additional training in when they should be tapering and focusing on peaking.  Leaving them fatigued and flat on race day.

I have made these errors through my own running journey.  Being able to identify and reflect on our own training deficits only makes us stronger moving ahead.  What are some well-intentioned training mistakes you have made during your training journey? 


Need a coach to help you reach your running goals?

VDot certified! I am a VDot  Certified coach with over  10 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 about customized training plans or private coaching opportunities click here  for pricing and package check it out here

What is the purpose of your run today?

Are you working toward a new distance or a time goal? If you are, you need to think about this title question every day, before you head out the door.  What is the purpose of this run?  When you are training, you are applying a stimulus or stress to the body.  That stress will hopefully cause minor damage to your body,. You body will then rebuild and adapt so that it is stronger the next time. The amount of stress is important.  We want fast results, but we don’t want to be injured.  In order to maximize results and minimize risk we need to train smarter.  Identifying the body systems that you are working and the purpose of the workout will guide your distances and pace. Completing goal specific workouts stress the body in different ways and allow adaptations for the different body systems used in endurance racing. This can sound very overwhelming for new runners and one of the many advantages to hiring a coach*. Below are some basic types of runs, and how they impact your different body systems.

Learn more about RunCanvas Coaching

  • Easy days/active recovery runs– Slowing down and running easy miles is difficult for many runners. We are built with a train harder, race harder mentality.  This will inevitably leave the runner over-trained and under-performing.  Your easy run needs to feel easy.  You need to run easy enough that your body is still able to recover from the previous workout and not create further stress and damage on the body.  Easy runs are a great way to add up more base mileage which will help increase your endurance base.  Easy miles also help runners slowly build up a tolerance to the stresses of running, which will build up a resistance to injury.  Easy runs will help strengthen your cardio vascular systems, strengthening you heart allowing your body to pump blood more efficiently and increase stroke volume. Improvements are not made during actual workouts, but instead are made when our body adapts and recovers from those workouts.  If you do not allow your body to run easy enough and recover you will eventually injure yourself.
    • I wrote a previous post on slowing down your easy runs. Check it out!
  • Threshold /Tempo Runs- You will often hear tempo runs explained as comfortably hard, or called a sustained effort run. Tempo runs help by improving your endurance base at higher intensities.  As your body runs faster, your metabolic rate increases.  Lactic acid is a by-product of the metabolism.  Your lactic threshold is the breaking point of where your body can no longer keep up with the increasing build up. At a higher rate, your body will begin to build up lactic acid which leave the muscles feeling fatigued.  As you train at this threshold your body becomes more efficient at clearing the lactic acid and other by-products.  These adaptations allow your body to, eventually, run at higher intensities before the lactic acid begins to build up.
    • Example workout-20 minute Tempo run
    • Purpose- Improve your body’s ability to efficiently manage lactic build up at higher intensities.
  • Long Run-Physiologically, your long run is a key workout for building your endurance base by building up your cardiovascular system. When running long runs, you are increasing the impact load your muscles, joints and connective tissues can support during longer distances. While running long, you are increasing your mitochondrial production of capillaries.  Remember you mitochondria acts as the “powerhouse” of the cell.  Taking food (nutrients) and converting it to energy. The increase of mitochondrial capillaries helps get that energy to the muscles more efficiently. During long runs, your body learns to store glycogen (energy) while using other energy sources more efficiently.  Running long is also great for preparing mentally for endurance races, practicing hydration and refueling techniques.
  • Speed work-There is a variety of speed work or interval training workouts for runners. The idea that you have to run faster to get faster is correct. The problem is many runners want to do it every day. Speed work is calculated workout session used to stress certain body systems and allow them to recover. Small adjustments in pace can have a large impact on a training session. If you have ever blasted the first interval of a training session, only to ride the suffer bus the rest of the way through. You know what I am talking about.  Speed work is performed by running repeated segments of fast running and then a recovery.  During speed work you are training your body to perform efficiently at high paces and build up a resistance to fatigue. Interval training helps a runner build up speed, improve running economy and manage pain.  Speed work improves efficiency and bio-mechanics, so be sure to focus on form while completing your speed work.
    • Example-400 meter repeats
    • Purpose– To improve speed and economy by loading the amount of oxygen needed to run at a specific pace while improving leg turn over.

Remember you are training with a goal in mind.  Training load is a balancing act.  Your distances and paces are important to maintaining that balance.  Stop trying to “beat” the workout.  You aren’t racing the workout, you are simply applying a stress load to the body, which will cause the body to rebuild stronger.  Pushing your paces too much increases that training load, increasing your risk for injury.  Along with not allowing adequate recovery.  A complete training program should include a variety of training sessions, training at multiple paces.  Before you begin to implement speed work into your training, be sure to have built up an endurance base.  This means running consistently for 2-3 months at least 3 times a week.  Always include a warm up and cool down session.  Never complete a speed or tempo session while injured.  Anytime you feel a slight niggle or small injury it is best to back off on intensity and distance for a short time, until the injury has healed. 

        So how to do you know what kind of workouts you should be doing and what paces?  Well, that’s is one great benefit of working with a coach.  Cheaper options may include books published by professional coaches an online programs, many are free.  I have used all three methods. Not all freebie plans are good so finding the right programs is important.  Look for a variety of workouts and a write up by the author that gives you an idea on the reasoning behind the workouts.  Previously, I was using Jack Daniels book to guide my workouts.  I really loved the book.  Most of my training relied on his book and formulas for the last year.  I would highly recommend his book to anyone who is wanting to learn more about running and training zones.  My biggest “ah ha” moment was when he talks about training based on where you are now, to get to where you want to be. If you like developing your own programs, there are a lot of training pace calculators.  While they don’t all use the same formula a lot of them will get you similar pace.  I like to use Jack Daniels Vdot Calculator and Greg McMillian Calculators, when I am deciding on paces.

I have spent the last training cycle, really focusing on the purpose of the run.  By doing so, I have become more in tune with my body and I have been doing a lot better with avoiding major injury. I also have found that I am running more consistently, because I understand the purpose of each run.  I get a bigger sense of accomplishment out of my runs, knowing that my run today had a bigger purpose through my training plans.

I’m curious, what kind of training plan do you use? Why did you decide on that method? Have you used other methods before?

Thank you so much for reading.  I really appreciate all comments, likes and shares.  If you want to continue to follow my journey, please subscribe!

Need a coach to help you reach your running goals?

VDot certified! I am a VDot  Certified coach with over  10 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 about customized training plans or private coaching opportunities click here  for pricing and package check it out here

The Week of Slow

Working with a variety of running clients, including many runners who feel the need to run their easy runs in the moderate zone. Limiting their ability to safely build mileage and make adequate gains following their quality sessions.

The challenge?  The individual runs feels fine, but the athlete is slowly building fatigue and not recovering from the previous training.  This compounding fatigue can negate the hard work and benefits of the prescribed quality sessions a runner completes, while also increasing the risk of over-training and injury.

One of the ways I like to address this issue with my clients is by giving them what I call, the week of slow.  I limit my runners to 7-10 days of easy running.   Retraining their mind and body to recognize how easy pace should feel and break the habit of pushing through all of their runs. It seems counter intuitive to many runners, to slow down, in order to get faster.  I have covered this topic in detail in a previous post; Slow Down! Running Your Easy Run, Easier. 

As a VDOT certified coach, I utilize the training zones in Jack Daniels Running Formula for my athletes.  Before I can begin building speed sessions and lengthening the long run, the runner must understand the importance of the active recovery run.  Runners improve by training at a variety of paces. .  The faster and longer sessions a runner completes are designed to create a stimulus/stress to the runner’s body.  The body responds by rebuilding after this stress, adapting so that it is stronger the next time. Similar to the way your skin scars after a deep wound. The easy running allows the athlete to become a more efficient runner while fatigued and can safely build on the aerobic fitness levels without adding too much additional stress to the body.

When completing the week of slow, a runner is given a variety of training tools to support their running; including dynamic warm ups and form drills. As a coach, I look very closely at the runners entire run pattern for each run session.  When a runner first begins, they will often roller coaster their paces.  As their body relies on the old habits, they will hit the front end of the training zone and back off repeatedly during the run.  As the week progresses I can see the ups and downs begin to level out. The runner will begin to run much more by feel and not continue to check their watch.  Ideally, I will begin to see the runner backing off on pace when they hit elevation gains as they are now running more by effort and not by the watch.

Active recovery is an important component in a training cycle.  Getting in small recovery runs helps build an athlete’s endurance base and aerobic fitness.  The more miles a runner can safely complete the better the training cycle.   


If you enjoy reading, please subscribe and share!   What are your current training challenges? Comment below! 

Need a coach to help you reach your running goals?

VDot certified! I am a VDot  Certified coach with over  10 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 about customized training plans or private coaching opportunities click here  for pricing and package check it out here


Slow Down! Running Your Easy Run, Easier.

               Every run has a purpose Many runners, especially new runners, are under the impression that in order to get faster, they must run all of their runs faster.  This, very simply put, is not true and can quickly become counterproductive.  Your easy run is a key building block for endurance races, but only if done correctly.

               In order to understand why, you need to think about how training works.  When you work out, you are applying a stimulus to your body.  That stimulus breaks down our body, and then our body adapts. The adaptation occurs because our body repairs itself stronger then it was before. The problem is when you run all of your runs too fast then you aren’t allowing your body to fully recover. Many runners, even more experienced runners, will run in the “medium” zone.  Individually, the runs can feel easy.  The problem is, the body isn’t being allowed to recover.  Slowly the body begins to break down and eventually leaves the runner feeling fatigued or injured. 

Running Easy for New runners

This is very hard for new runners, who find themselves struggling to complete new distances or increase their weekly mileage.  Your body can only take so much before it breaks down.  If you are completing new higher mileage, both in individual runs and in weekly mileage, than that is the training stimulus itself. Running it faster will only increase your risk of injury.

Your body has two main energy systems; anaerobic and aerobic.  While training you can’t efficiently build both at the same time.  As a new runner, your focus should start on base mileage. Base mileage develops your aerobic system. As you build this base mileage, slowly, your body adapts in many ways.   You muscular-skeletal systems needs to adapt and your body begins to use oxygen more efficiently.

The act of running is hard on your body. Allowing your body to get use to the pounding that occurs with every step is important.  Increasing, the speed only increase the amount of force being applied to your body.  When you run slower, easy mileage to build you endurance base, the heart becomes stronger, pumping blood more efficiently by increasing stroke volume.  The mitochondria, remember the powerhouse of the cell, becomes stronger and more efficient.  Also, your capillary density increases, which brings blood flow to your muscles more easily.  (If you can read and follow that, thank a middle school science teacher).

So new runners, it’s okay to slow down. It’s actually good for you!  If you’d like to know what a good pace for you to be running at, and you have a race time. Try one of the calculators I have linked below to get an idea of where your runs should be. As a new runners who should be focusing on building base mileage, I would focus on easy pace runs only for a while.

Here are two great calculators from well know professional coaches;

Jack Daniels running Calculator or McMillan Running Calculator

Running Easy for Experienced Runners

               More experienced runners, who have developed a general endurance base, often add in some type of speed work.  This speed work, is meant to begin working on your anaerobic systems.   There are a large variety of speed work outs but the idea behind running easy, or taking off days is the same. You are engaging in active recovery and the key word is RECOVERY!

Pushing your pace on our easy day is further fatiguing your body before you next key workout.  At the very least, running a tad faster than a true easy pace, you are not allowing your body to full recover between those key workouts.  Your subsequent workouts will begin to suffer.  Your growth is going to come from recovering from those workouts, not from going 15-20 seconds faster on your easy days.   You are putting the work in, but you won’t see the growth.  If you continue to run like this, your body will build up cumulative fatigue.  This will cause your performance to plateau, get worse or worse you are at a high risk for injury.

Use a recent race time to get a good idea of what your easy runs should be. These are estimates, the key should be listening to your body.  It’s not uncommon for me to run a day or two slow than my recommended easy pace because my body is still recovering from a hard run. 

Here are two great calculators from well know professional coaches

Jack Daniels running Calculator or McMillan Running Calculator

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Need a coach to help you reach your running goals?

VDot certified! I am a VDot  Certified coach with over  10 years of coaching experience! I have worked with young beginners in the middle school level, high school athletes how have gone on to compete a national Division I championships, and adults runners of all abilities.   For more information about customized training plans or private coaching opportunities click here  for pricing and package check it out here

Food Groove Mission- Product Review


I was super excited to receive 10 pouches of Food Groove Mission Super bites, an all natural snacks packed with a healthy punch, great for both before and after your run.

img_1820There are three flavors.;

I tried all three flavors.  I love peanut butter and thought that would be my favorite but it was actually the mother earth flavor. It was a hint sweater with the berries. I first tried these bites before my run and they were the perfect option for holding me over between lunch and my afternoon run.  They aren’t overly filling but have high quality ingredients to keep you satisfied on the run.

I also used them after my long run one morning.  They pair so well with a warm cup of coffee and great conversations with running buddies on a cold morning!  I’m usually a junk food monster after my long run and these were a great way to satisfy my craving while getting a lot better quality into my body.

Some of the other Bib Rave pros used these on the run, personally I have a lot of texture issues when I fuel on the run so this wouldn’t work for me.  It’s definitely more of a me issues that a product thing, however.

My overall opinion, these super food bites are an all natural snack that are super tasty.  I found the little pouches to be perfect for tossing in my bag for work on gym back when I headed out to run.  They can be stored at room temperature and hold up well.  I will be  ordering more.

Need a bit more? These super bites are Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Dairy and soy Free. Sorry they are not vegan as they contain Manuka Honey.

Want to get try some bites?  You can order directly from their website at http://foodgroovemission.com/ and use the code “BIBRAVE15” to get 15% off your order.

Disclaimer: I received 10 pouches of Food Groove Mission Superfood Bites to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find and write race reviews!

Need a coach to help you reach your running goals?

VDot certified! I am a VDot  Certified coach with over  10 years of coaching experience! I have worked with young beginners in the middle school level, high school athletes how have gone on to compete a national Division I championships, and adults runners of all abilities.   Check out my coaching page for more information!



20 weeks until…. Grandma’s Marathon

I have been a bit quiet as I flip flopped on what I want my spring racing and training to look like.  Overall, there are a lot of super awesome spring races but my time gets super limited when track season with my high school team starts.  I have finally narrowed it down to two goal races this spring/summer.

My typical favorite spring half marathon (Rock the Parkway) is the same weekend as the NSTA convention for science teachers. This conflict had me looking for other races in the Midwest that didn’t conflict with my track meets as well.

I have decided to race a brand new event, the Valley 7 lakes Half marathon. This course was designed to be fast! I think it will be a great check point race for me as my goal race this training cycle will be Grandma’s Marathon! 

  • Are you interested in running Grandmas Marathon? Use code BibRave10 to receive $10 off!

I am super excited to race Grandma’s Marathon as it has been on the marathon bucket list for a while.  Every year I see a handful of KC runners go and I always am super jealous. It’s a fast net down hill course, and everyone who has raced it, always talks about how beautiful the course is.

Going into these races and this training cycle I am going “back to basics” a bit. I feel like I need as step back before I can more forward. I am focusing less on my finishing time at the races, and really looking at overall growth as a runner and enjoying the processes much more this time around.  How am I mixing things up?

I have decided to cut out or at least cut back on the early speed work. I plan to get a good 6-8 weeks of solid base building in before introducing speed work.  During this phase I will be focusing on building mileage, and getting stronger and healthier.  My goal is to complete strides 2-3 times a week along with short hill sprints twice a week. I plan to be more diligent in my strength training and mobility drills.

Once I have that base foundation set, I think my body will be better equipped to handle the demands of different types of speed, interval and threshold training as I go into the half marathon.   Along with taking time to enjoy running with friends and not spending months on end completing workouts by myself that left me a bit mentally over worked.  As this is how I felt during the last two marathon cycles I have completed.

I hope you will follow me over the next 20 weeks as I tackle this new cycle.  You will find my weekly recaps every Sunday along with regular tips and tricks throughout the upcoming weeks.

Check back tomorrow as I share my review Food Groove Mission Super Food Bites!

 “Disclaimer: I received free entry to Grandma’s Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”


Need a coach to help you reach your running goals?

VDot certified! I am a VDot  Certified coach with over  10 years of coaching experience! I have worked with young beginners in the middle school level, high school athletes, and adults runners of all abilities.   Check out my coaching page for more information!

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