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RUNNING

Guess who’s back? Sheila’s back. Tell a friend…

in ATHLETES/RUNNING/SOS PRO'S/USA by

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2017 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Coming down the homestretch of the women’s 1500m at last Friday’s USATF Distance Classic in Los Angeles, Sheila Reid was the picture of strength.  The 27 year-old Canadian Olympian, who won four NCAA titles for Villanova, was battling American 1500m record holder Shannon Rowbury for the win.  To the surprise of the small crowd assembled on the concrete bleachers at Jack Kemp Stadium at Occidental College, Reid edged Rowbury by one-tenth of a second in 4:07.07, locking in a qualifying time for the 2017 IAAF World Championships.

Although her mark was modest by Reid’s high standards, it was in its own way a revelation.

“Four-oh-seven is still five seconds off of my personal best,” Reid earnestly told reporters, hands on hips.  “But, two months ago if you told me that I would be in a position to run a world standard I would have laughed at you.  I was so out of shape, and really dejected.  I just kind of found my fitness, found my groove again.”

Reid, who is originally from Newmarket, Ontario, but runs for the Nike-sponsored Oregon Track Club Elite in Eugene, has spent the last 12 months fighting for a career she loves, but which has sometimes been cruel to her.  At the same meet a year ago, she had no idea that a small pain in her right leg would lead to a devastating cluster of injuries which nearly pushed her to hang up her spikes for good.  The sixth-fastest Canadian of all-time with a career 1500m best of 4:02.96, Reid was forced to miss last summer’s Rio Olympics and take a full five months off from training.  She couldn’t even cross-train.

“Olympic years are hard,” Reid explained, locking eyes with this reporter.  “You either come out the other side really, really motivated, or you are just jaded and maybe just a little bit apathetic because you’re just so physically and mentally drained from the experience.  Having been injured, I was the latter.  It was hard, especially since it took so long for the injury to heal.  I was off for, like, five months doing nothing, no cross training.”

After running a fine 4:05.74 at the Occidental meet in 2016, Reid could hardly walk the next day.  But determined to make it to Rio, she took her 1500m starting spot at the high-stakes Prefontaine Classic just eight days later and ripped a 4:03.96.  On paper, she was in prime position to make her second Olympic appearance, but the damage had been done: her leg was wrecked.

“I felt a little twinge, but it wasn’t going to keep me from racing,” Reid said of competing at Occidental last May.  “And then racing on it, really blew it up.  I was kind of hobbling for a week.  I ran Pre, and after Pre it was just a downward spiral from there.  I kept trying to run on it and run on it, because I just wanted to get to the Trials and make the team.  And then, I just made it so much worse.  The muscle ended up pulling on the tibia bone so hard that it fractured it.  So, what started as a strain and bursitis, I mangled everything.”

On July 8, 2016, Reid posted a tweet to say that she was going to miss the Canadian Olympic Trials in Edmonton, and her Olympic dreams would have to be postponed.  “I can assure you that my team and I did everything we could to get me to stand upright on the start line, but simply ran out of time,” she tweeted.

The forced rest caused Reid to feel so many conflicting emotions.  Although she couldn’t go to Rio, she was lifted by seeing the success of athletes she knew perform so well there, like now-retired Oregon Track Club Elite teammates Ashton Eaton and his wife Brianne Theisen Eaton.  But not being able to compete herself, deepened her pain.  The healing process was incredibly slow, and she seriously considered quitting.

“I thought I knew what my rock-bottom was, (but) I was even lower than that,” Reid recalled.  “It was so difficult, you know, especially when the thing you love so much keeps hurting you.  Like, it felt that running was hurting me.  I’d gone to this point where I’d come back after a couple of years off.  I was poised to make the Olympic team.  I’d run really close to my personal best, and I got knocked back down again.  Like, why do I keep trying to hang on to this thing?”

But slowly she healed and resumed training.  It would be 342 days until Reid lined up for a race again, the 2017 Oregon Twilight Meet in Eugene on May 2.  It was a Goldilocks kind of race, with the pace not too hot and not too cold.  Reid ran a solid 4:10.40 beating collegians Amy-Eloise Neale of Washington and Katie Rainsberger of Oregon.  That gave her the confidence to come to the USATF Distance Classic.  She began to feel some forward momentum.

“Physically coming back was hard, but mentally I wasn’t sure if I wanted it anymore,” Reid admitted.  “It was really frustrating letting things creep into my mind, like maybe that’s all my legs had to give, and my years are done.  But, I’m glad that Mark Rowland, my coach, my parents, people from Athletics Canada, really encouraged me to keep digging and believed in me.  It’s because of everyone else that I’m still continuing.”

Nearly losing her career in athletics has clearly given Reid a new perspective.  She is grateful to be able to use her gift again, and hopes to race a full summer season and line up for the IAAF World Championships in London in August.  She knows there are no guarantees.

“It happens to a lot of people,” she said of her setbacks.

“I think the biggest thing is you can’t, you can’t think of this as personal or, you know, ‘poor me.’  I mean, it happens to everybody.  Not everybody gets to live their dreams every single year, every single Olympic cycle.  Hopefully, I put my time in, paid my dues, and I want to be there in 2020, for sure.”

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LET’S GET MENTAL: A blog by Heidi See

in AUSTRALIA/BLOGS/RUNNING/SOS PRO'S/USA by

When we talk about fitness in a literal sense, we think about being physically fit and healthy. But for me, and many other people in my position, fitness is often the the foundation for every life decision I make. If I’m not reaching my full potential physically, I am unable to do my job right. This means that most of what I am thinking about is in some way related to my maintaining or developing my fitness.

Photo: @rhanielisephotography

Every time I eat: “Am I getting enough protein, fibre, carbs? Is there enough color on my plate? Is this going to fuel me effectively for my workout?”

Every time I leave the house: “How much walking am I going to be doing? Will this casual footwear be efficient enough? Have I been on my feet too much today?”

Every start to the week: “What appointments do I have to attend? Can I coordinate these so that I don’t have to do too much driving? Where can I schedule a ‘lie down’ so I’m not sitting or standing too much between sessions?”

Although they seem silly when I write them down, these things are constantly running through my mind and are imperative to consider so that I am looking after myself the best way I can. They can get tiresome and tedious, and can also be the root of much stress.  This reality means that my mental approach to fitness is just as important as my physical progress.

Photo: @temposhot

Every year that I continue to compete professionally, I am constantly finding ways to improve on my overall wellbeing both physically and mentally. This year in particular my mental approach to training has been crucial in moving forward. In a general sense I am a pretty laid back and adaptable person, but when it comes to things I am passionate about, I am a perfectionist. In some ways it is a positive because it provides me with this no quit attitude, but it has also been a huge negative to my running at times. Last season I realized just how negative this obsessive approach to training and racing can be, and I knew that if I wanted to continue in the sport and become a better athlete I was going to have to change this.

Photo: @tafphoto

When I first began training with Melbourne Track Club at the end of last year, it was important for me to match this new training set up that was very different than what I was used to with a fresh mental outlook. This year I have pushed aside the perfectionist and challenged myself to approach things pragmatically. It has been HUGE in my overall happiness as an athlete and I now find myself looking forward to challenging myself and excited to compete. This ‘happy’ athlete is something I have struggled to be for most of my athletic career, and to feel like I am finding that part of me will hopefully be career changing.

Of course the perfectionist mentality will rear its ugly head when things don’t go to plan or unexpected challenges arise, but when I pull myself out of it I tell myself three things:

1. Let go
2. Accept the challenge
3. Move forward

With anything I work hard at I imagine that moment where all the stars align and magic happens. What I’ve experience first hand though, is that the desire for perfection can often hold you back from the beauty of the unknown and the freedom that an open mind can grant you. Going in with expectations will often limit you, but letting go of the things you cant control is when you can surprise yourself. The unpredictable nature of this sport is something to be embraced and there is never just one path on the road to success.

Fun Fact: So far this season I have raced 10 times. Out of all these races, 8 of them were races I could individually try and win (not a prelim, not a relay). I have won 6/8, a statistic I hope to keep rolling as the season continues. The reason? Half mental attitude, half Nic Bideau brilliant coaching???

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Going Han Solo: The Andrew Wheating Story

in ATHLETES/INTERVIEWS/RUNNING/SOS PRO'S/USA by

Andrew Wheating is from “back east”, yet has spent over a decade holding some sort of Oregon-team membership card.

In college he ran at the University of Oregon, which was then by followed Oregon Track Club. Throughout that time he has been to two Olympic Games, and his 3:30.90 for 1500m ranks 4th all-time in the U.S.

At the beginning of the year it was announced that Wheating would leaving Oregon TC, following the likes of Sting and Beyonce by launching his solo career. However, rather than heading for the bright lights of a big city, Wheating is keeping his Oregon license plates and staying in Eugene – which is where our very own Jemma Simpson (a former member of Oregon TC herself) sat down for an update on all things Andrew.

Interview with Andrew Wheating 

Stay tuned to see the video Andrew made…

Like all public figures, Wheating prefers to be followed on Instagram rather than in person.

An interview with Steve Vernon – Coach of New Balance Manchester

in BLOGS/INTERVIEWS/RUNNING/SOS PRO'S/UK by

Britain is currently in the midst of a distance-running renaissance not seen for decades. Although there were numerous standout results at the Rio Olympics from British athletes, the true indicator of depth has been the quality of performances at home.

At the British Trials for the European XC Championships this winter, the Top 4 automatic spots were taken by athletes that had either broken 13:10 for the 5,000m, 61 minutes in the half marathon, or 28 minutes over 10,000m.

One of the driving forces behind this progress has been the investment of resources into smart coaching and infrastructure to facilitate a model of group training. With the support of New Balance, Steve Vernon has been able to implement this successfully with his New Balance Manchester squad based in Stockport.

We spoke to Steve about the driving forces behind his team, how he manages the inevitable differences between athletes and what sets NB Manchester apart.

 

Your team seems to follow a similar model to your transatlantic cousins in Boston? 

Professional running teams in the USA have been a proven success ground for world-class distance running over the last 5-10 years. Performance athletes are central to New Balance as a brand so supporting athletes in a team environment is something that New Balance were keen to do as part of their global strategy. The professional Team in Manchester is one of the first of its kind in Europe and we are creating an environment that supports athletes to be the best they can possibly be.
Good communication is absolutely essential and I make sure that I am clear with how training is set out each week. I have a training philosophy that I explain to every athlete that joins the team so they know what to expect from the start. I do however appreciate that not every athlete will respond and adapt in the same way to a particular stimulus so although the majority of the training is group focused the schedules are all individual. We meet every day for training and I give the options for athletes to do second runs alone or with training partners that run at a similar speed on recovery runs.

Putting together a full-time training group is a delicate balance; some athletes inevitably find themselves pushing when they shouldn’t be, and everyone has their own routines. What steps do you take to create a balance that everyone can benefit from, despite having individual strengths and weaknesses?

Distance running is an individual sport but I have a culture where everyone supports each other as a team. When the gun goes they inevitably want to beat each other but I ensure that competitiveness is managed in training and they save it for race day!

The increasing number of professional training groups throughout the world has pushed the level of performance up considerably. What makes New Balance Manchester different from other set-ups?

As I mentioned earlier this group in Manchester is quite unique in Europe as there are very few, but we are starting to see more and more groups emerge in the UK especially. We have an athlete house where 4 of the guys live and then everyone else lives within 6 miles of the NB house and training venues.

The athletes are predominantly supported by New Balance, but also receive some support from British Athletics/Welsh Athletics with regards to altitude training camps. The environment we run in is quite spectacular as we are 10 miles from Manchester on the edge of the Peak District National Park with miles of trails, canals, and parkland to run on. We have the option to run on the flat or up and down hills, which I feel is essential to distance running success. There is a strong club structure in the UK and we are lucky to have the support of the local club Stockport Harriers to use the track and its facilities. 

Stockport obviously has a lot to offer, yet few would argue that it could be easier get out the door in warmer conditions. You recently had a training camp in Spain – is this something you will do on a regular basis? What benefits did you see in your athletes?

The weather in the North West of England has a bad reputation but it’s wet and mild all year round so despite the summers never being amazing it is often a nice (15 – 20 degrees centigrade) temperature to train in. We hardly ever get snow in the winter so it rare we have to change plans because of really bad weather. As long as you don’t mind getting a bit wet and muddy occasionally it’s pretty good. Oregon has similar weather and they don’t do too badly over there!

Despite my positivity of the Manchester weather we do like to get away in the dark winter months and Spain in January was simply a chance to get in some quality training, Vitamin D and a change of stimulus for the guys, which I believe can help during the winter grind. I use altitude training and like to get at least 2 camps in for 4 weeks in each year.

 

How to Recover Like a Pro

in LIFESTYLE/RECOVERY/RUNNING/SOS MAGAZINE by

How listening less to college coaches and more to Lance Armstrong will help you run faster… legally.

There is a timeless saying, “you don’t get fit when you’re running; you get fit when you’re recovering”. If training was only about running then you’d barely stop, and Dean Karnazes would win every event from the 5,000m to the marathon at the Olympics. Thankfully, that isn’t the case.

EAT

The current obsession about weight in running is incredibly disconcerting. When female athletes become fixated on becoming as thin as possible it is rightly seen as a health concern, yet amongst males it is becoming an expression of masochism and bravado.

The head cross-country coach at Colorado State Art Siemers has become one of many coaches in the NCAA known for fixating on the weight and appearance of his athletes.

Heidi See

“Thin to win” is his catch phrase, and it’s a terrifying precedent to set on young, highly impressionable athletes.

Weight is just one variable in the training equation of stress, recovery, and adaptation. This is a delicate equilibrium that if thrown off balance can have devastating effects. Weight should not be used as a catalyst to precipitate training adaptations; rather it should be a carefully managed bi-product.

If we accept that fitness gains are made during recovery, then carrying less weight through diet restriction to complete a workout faster will only result in an inability to recover properly.

Eat good food; you need it.

 

HYDRATE

There are plenty of ways to skin a cat. Some are more effective than others, but the point stands – hydration has to be taken care of before all else.

Products used for recovery like chocolate milk are crucial for repairing muscle damage through protein synthesis, yet for this process to be as efficient as possible the muscles must be well hydrated. Without hydrating, protein synthesis will be less effective and increase the time needed for recovery.

Balance is also crucial, as our bodies endocrine system is affected by electrolyte losses. If one electrolyte is consumed in high volumes without the correct balance of the hormonal processes will be disrupted.

 

SLEEP

In a 2015 interview with Joe Rogan, Lance Armstrong stated, “naps are performance enhancing”. He’s not wrong. Sleep is when the magic happens, where the money is made, and most of us aren’t getting enough of it.

When we sleep, our body repairs damaged tissue. During the deeper stages of sleep, human growth hormone (HGH) is released into the bloodstream where it helps rebuild muscles and convert fat to fuel.SOS Hydration

The point is simple; when we don’t get enough quality sleep it becomes harder for our body to recover. The modern world isn’t making it easier; it is now commonplace to be looking at your phone in bed, with the emitted light telling your brain to remain awake and vigilant.

Try to avoid your phone, tablet, laptop or anything emitting that kind of light for an hour before you want to be asleep. A good rule of thumb would be 9hrs before you need to wake up. This can have an exponential effect on your ability to have quality sleep and recover.

Train hard.

Eat a lot of good food.

Hydrate.

Go to sleep.

Easier said than done, apparently.

Team New Balance Manchester Blog

in ATHLETES/BLOGS/RUNNING/SOS MAGAZINE/SOS PRO'S/UK by

Courtesy of Team New Balance Manchester, Blog #17

This weeks blog will focus on hydration, mainly because it is often a neglected element of training amongst athletes, but it can have a huge effect on both performance and recovery.

Hydration may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of training in the UK, especially in Manchester. However, keeping hydrated in a cold and wet Manchester is just as important is it is would be anywhere else in the world! Our requirements here in Manchester probably aren’t quite as high as they would be in a hot, dry desert, but nevertheless, it is still important!

It’s hard to estimate our exact fluid requirements as it varies from individual to individual depending on sweat rate, body size, training load and the environment (temperature, humidity level, altitude). In a normal day, the average person loses 2L of water just through breathing, sweating, urine and bowel movements. Add exercise to your day and this figure can be significantly higher. It’s possible to loose up to 2L per hour through exercise which is quite staggering! A 2% loss in body weight due to dehydration can result in a 20% drop in performance mainly due to the fact that dehydration leads to increased heart rate, increased use of muscle glycogen stores and increased lactate production. None of which are particularly conducive for optimum performance! Along with water, we also loose two main electrolytes in our sweat; Sodium and Chloride. Sodium is the main electrolyte in our bodies, and serves many functions from regulating fluid balance to enabling muscle contraction and controlling blood pressure. Re-hydrating is therefore not only about replacing water.

When it comes to hydrating, here at Team NBMCR we like to use the best, and are very fortunate to have the support of SOS Rehydrate. It is a company founded by international athletes and Doctors. They produce a great tasting oral rehydration formula which is in line with the standards set by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, and is also trusted by Informed Sport. The combination of electrolytes in SOS Rehydrate can be as effective as an IV drip for mild to moderate dehydration. It’s easy to fall into the trap of buying sports drinks which are branded to be rehydrating, but the reality is, they often often aren’t particularly effective in combating dehydration as they don’t contain quite the right balance of electrolytes and glucose. What this means, without going into too much scientific detail, is that despite taking in lots of fluid in the form of sports drinks, the body doesn’t actually absorb all the fluid and a lot will be lost from the body. The SOS formula on the other hand has the perfect mix of electrolytes and glucose for optimal absorption and hydration. Our bodies can absorb 3 x more water with SOS compared to just drinking water alone!

sos
This image, taken from the SOS Rehydrate website, gives a description of its key ingredients

SOS comes in convenient sachets, which you just pour into water, give it a little shake or stir, and then all you have to do is drink up, which is pretty easy as they taste great too! They come in four flavours: berry, citrus, mango and coconut. Fortunately we all have different favourite flavours on the team so there aren’t too many squabbles about who gets what flavour! On an average day in Manchester, we probably get through around one sachet a day each, but slightly more when we’re away at altitude or warmer climes.

sos-mango-sachets_prod

More information can be found here on the SOS website http://sosrehydrate.com/. We at team NBMCR are big fans of SOS and would definitely recommend it for all your hydration needs!

sos

Just as a side note, here are ten random facts about water and hydration for anyone who’s interested!

  1. Koalas and Kangaroo Rats are two creatures that do not need to drink water to live. They are able to get all their water requirements from other sources such as eucalyptus leaves

  2. Camels can drink 94 litres of water in less than 3 minutes- don’t try this at home!

  3. Breathing in and out uses more than half a litre of water every day

  4. The average human brain is 78% water

  5. You begin to feel thirsty when your body looses 1% of water

  6. A person can live without food for more than a month, but only a week with no water

  7. Hot water freezes faster than cold water

  8. An air traveller can loose approximately 1.5 litres of water during a 3 hour flight

  9. Sound travels almost 5 times faster underwater than in air

  10. The food with the highest water content is cucumber at 96.7% followed by iceberg lettuce and celery

Away from hydrating, we have also been busy training and racing. This weekend Lauren and Jonny are heading to Cheshire for the Alsager 5 mile road race, while Andy is is continuing his indoor season racing a 3,000m in Mondeville, Northern France. Good luck guys!

Locker Room Talk with Mark Coogan

in INTERVIEWS/RUNNING/SOS MAGAZINE/TRAINING/USA by
Mark Coogan, 2007

Mark Coogan represented the United States at the 1995 world championships (at 5000 meters) and the 1996 Olympics (in the marathon). At Dartmouth, notably, he successfully guided the career of Abbey D’Agostino, 7x NCAA champion. He is currently the New Balance Boston Elite Coach. Daniel Wallis caught up with Mark for this insightful chat on college vs professional attitude, developing coaching knowledge, and training in Boston with his outstanding group of athletes.

SOS Locker Room Talk with Mark Coogan

As a college coach, there are so many variables in the life of a student-athlete that are out of a coaches control. However, as a professional, the idea is that you’re more mature, experienced, and live the required lifestyle. With that in mind, what are a couple of key distinctions in your approach to an athletes’ training between college and as a professional?

Mark Coogan with Abbey D’Agostino during his time at Dartmouth (Photo by Doug Austin) dartmouth.edu

One key distinction that I have noticed is that in a lot of college athletes you really have to find ways to make them train harder. There are a lot of distractions on campus. It also seems that at some colleges now it is about the student-athlete experience rather than doing well. At Dartmouth we tried really hard to make sure the student-athletes had a good experience but also set a tone that you are going train hard and win.

With the professionals that I have coached the last few years, I learned that holding the pros back some days is a key to their success. The professional runners want to succeed so badly that they will over do it if they don’t have a good coach watching and communicating with them. Communication is the key between the coach and professional runner.

College athletes have all the logistical things handed to them, especially if they are from big time schools and conferences. I used to tell the athletes that I coached in college that they could do 2 things well. They can run fast and do well academically but it is really hard to do 3 things well. With the collegiate athlete I would try to make practice the best 2 hours of the day with the hope it would become a top priority. The team would become their family away from home.

The professional runners have to be more responsible than the college runner. They have to do a lot of the logistics on their own. They have to make their own appointments with physical therapy, massage, pay rent, cook their own food, drive to practice etc. Real life stuff! On a college team you have all this at your fingertips and it is done for you.

 

You were self-coached and trained in Boulder with some of the greatest athletes in the history of distance running who all had a wealth of knowledge. As a coach, how do you continue to learn and develop your coaching knowledge?

Mark Coogan, 2007, photo by PhotoRun.net

I always ask a lot of questions. In Boulder, I was kind of the ring- leader trying to get people to train together every day. On runs with Steve Jones, Arturo Barrios and Mark Plaatjes you just absorb what they say and do.

I have never been afraid to ask other runners or coaches what they are doing for sessions. Daniel Coyle is the author of a book called the “The Little Book of Talent” and one of his tips is steal without apology. Improving is about absorbing and applying new information and that is what I try to do. I was lucky enough to be around a lot of the best coaches in America over the past 30 years, a list that includes Charles Torpey, Bob Sevene, Ray Tracey, John Gregorek, Jerry Schumacher, Chris Fox and a few others.

I had the opportunity to train with Providence group from the late 80’s and Boulder crowed in the 90’s. There have been so many great runners and coaches who have influenced my coaching philosophy that I feel I have a very good background, while now at New Balance I have a ton of resources that I can utilise.

Your group is based in Boston, a city often hit pretty hard in the winter. Given it’s that time of year, how does your group adapt it’s training when being outside crosses the line from tough to stupid?

I don’t think Boston is as tough a place to train through the winter as people think it is. On a few days you need to be flexible with your training but other than that you can get your work in. An example of that happened last week. I wanted to have some athletes do a 25-minute tempo run but it was snowy and windy. It was impossible to do it. So we improvised and did cruise intervals on the indoor track. At the end of the day I think we accomplished the same thing. I can tell you it is a lot easier to train in Boston than the other places I have lived – like Dartmouth or Madison, Wisconsin in the winter. When you run in bad weather you really do make yourself a little bit more mentally tough. You can look at the cold weather as a stressor and you will adapt. Then when you see terrible weather in a race you know you can handle it. It is the same reason the Patriots practice outside in Foxborough year round no matter the weather.

 

Behind the Scenes with Clayton Murphy

in ATHLETES/INTERVIEWS/RUNNING/SOS MAGAZINE/SOS PRO'S/USA by

SOS athlete Clayton Murphy races with the poise and experience that you’d expect from someone with far more experience. At the US Olympic trials he showed the country that he was more than ‘just’ a great college athlete, then he showed the world he was the real deal as he crossed the line in 3rd place in the 800m in Rio.

We caught up with Clayton to see what makes his wheels turn, and how he has transitioned seamlessly from college to life as a professional athlete.

For the past decade the 800m has come to be dominated by ‘specialists’, runners like Yuriy Borzakovskiy and David Rudisha who are pure half milers. You however, are reminiscent of the likes of Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett, guys who could mix it up in both the 800m and the mile. Do you see yourself racing more regularly over the mile and above in the future?

I think the future of my race selection is interesting. I really enjoy both races, each with their own challenges and styles. So as far as a favourite I do not have one right now, and training for me for the 800/mile is similar. So I think right now I am really just enjoying both and keeping my options open for the future!

Clayton Murphy
©TrackAndFieldPhoto.com 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials

 

Many American athletes in particular struggle with the transition from college to professional running, especially given the lack of a ‘team’ atmosphere that is easy to become comfortable in. Are there any specific ways you have managed this transition so well?

I think the biggest transition I noticed was that you lose your everyday schedule and support group you had as a collegiate athlete. You lose your teammates, medical staff, academic staff, equipment people, etc. That group is no longer is there, so not only are you making the transition from running a collegiate season, you are transitioning and creating an entirely new support group.

Lucky for me I am able to help coach and train with my collegiate teammates, work everyday with Coach LaBadie still, and use the same massage therapist/sports chiro I used while I was a student-athlete. Being able to keep the core pieces of my “team” with me has been huge in making a smooth transition to life as a professional.

It’s easy to go mad as a professional runner, how do give yourself a break from training and routine day-in, day-out?

I think making sure that I have fun with running is the first priority. Everyday for me training has to be fun. If you are not having fun it doesn’t matter what you do outside of running because you’re going to go insane.

Outside of running I am finishing my schooling to receive a bachelors degree in Finance from the University of Akron, so that takes up time after workouts. I also play a lot of video games including PS4, Xbox One, and PC gaming. My roommates and I are very competitive in FIFA and the Call of Duty games

 

Some half-milers and milers are now making incorporating blocks at altitude in their training. Is this something you have ever considered?

At this point in my career I have not considered altitude training block yet. But I am not against it, I have not researched the idea enough to act on it yet.

Many find it difficult to adjust to life in the village at the Olympic Game’s given they are thrown completely out of their routines. How did you go about each day in Rio to make sure you still did all the little things and remain in a positive mindset?

In Rio for me, and other big meets I really try to just adapt and make do with what I have. I have learned over my three years in college that not every hotel, restaurant, city, practice facility, etc. is going to have the same thing you want every time.

With Rio we had to make a pretty big adaption. Our practice track was 1 to 1.5-hour bus ride away, so we had many runs that had to be done in the village. This was tough running concrete circles but if I wanted to compete well I had to get it done.

 

END

RUNNING AROUND THE HOLIDAYS

in LIFESTYLE/RUNNING/SOS MAGAZINE/TRAINING/USA by

It’s that time of year… Christmas, New Years… all that good stuff. Holiday’s are great, except they create some unique challenges when it comes to training.
Runners are creatures of habit; we create routines for ourselves to manage stress and   stay on top of all the variables associated with training. Basically, runners build their own micro ecosystem.

If there is one thing that can disrupt that ecosystem, its travel – which is why you will regularly see runners’ hotel rooms looking like a workout room. The bare necessities for normal humans are a suitcase and a bathing suit. For the runner it’s a foam roller, stretching rope, lacrosse ball, theraband… the list goes on.

Chances are this holiday season you will be travelling, and that your family will still never be able to comprehend why you are “going for a run”, or why you can’t just “fit it in” some other time. Then there is trying to explain why you are so tired all the time, and telling Nana as politely as possible that you already eat a lot and don’t need “fattening up”. Add to that the fact that you’re likely going to be either sharing a room with three other relatives or sleeping on the sofa. Last but not least you’re probably going to be in a place that you don’t do a lot of training in. There is no 4 mile loop that you can shut your mind off on and just lap a couple of times, or your trusty favourite workout spot.ssrun5

Just like exam time during University, the above is all added yet underrated stress on the body. Runners are constantly dancing around and across a very thin red line of peak fitness or injury and illness, and it often only takes a few new variables for the scales to quickly tip. With this in mind, we have put together some simple yet effective tips to help you manage training during the holiday season.

For those lucky enough to be runners in America, annual leave virtually does not exist, so chances are you will be back home in about two or three days.

 

PLAN AHEAD

Sounds simple, yet it is one of the easiest things to forget about. It often feels like Christmas is the day after Thanksgiving, and you go from your Turkey Trot to having lunch next to that weird Uncle who still wants to teach you how to wrestle.

Finding good training spots in new areas is now more accessible than it has ever been, particularly with the rise in popularity of applications like Strava. Look for some popular loops, parks or paths and plan your training accordingly. The data will give you a good sense of where you can run fast, and where you can run without dealing with traffic or a lot of people. University campuses are usually a pretty good starting point, as even if you are in the middle of the town where they made ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ you will probably find a track or some bike paths to run on.

 

GET GOOD AT RUNNING LAPS

There is no point taking any risks while you are running in a new area. By that I mean if you find a decent little park or grassed field somewhere, run it to death. There is nothing worse than trying to do a recovery run and also figure out where the hell you are: stopping and starting, looking down at your phone and trying to navigate out of iTunes and into Google maps. If Bowerman TC can do a 15 mile run on Ronaldo field at Nike WHQ (which is 3 laps to the mile) then you can run around a shitty high school football field for an hour.

 

GET A TRIAL GYM MEMBERSHIP

24hr gyms are everywhere, and they all offer free-trials for a couple of visits. Set one up in advance and head there before and/or after runs. That way you can get into your tights and lay around on the floor with your various shaped balls and stretching ropes without your family thinking that you’re some kind of burlesque performer.

By heading to a gym you can dedicate all the time you need to pre-hab and re-hab and not need to worry about any running-related activities while back at the house. Not only is this easier logistically, its also a lot less stressful as there isn’t any chance you can be made to feel bad for doing your bum exercises while Nana is fisting the turkey with stuffing and everyone else is pottering about the kitchen.

 

REGULATE NOISE & LIGHT

It is perfectly acceptable for people aged 50 or over to fall asleep absolutely anywhere, yet runners often have the energy and motivation levels of the elderly. The advantage Grandad has is that he can turn his hearing aid off and instantly be in nap-heaven.

If you are not lucky enough to require the use of a hearing aid yet, buy some earplugs from the supermarket. If you are a seasoned traveller you will likely have some noise cancelling headphones. Add to this a sleep mask and you have a ripping day-time sleep set up that signals your intentions for a nap and will make people feel bad about trying to wake you. If you can add to this a feet-up situation that involves a blanket and/or a pillow you will have successfully mastered the task.

Target your most important daytime sleeps for after meals when there is a higher likelihood of your family doing the same after they have eaten themselves halfway towards diabetes.

 

MINUTES NOT MILES

Once again, sounds simple, but it can be a huge help. Don’t worry about pace or distance. If you normally cover about 10 miles for a 70 minute run at home but are now somewhere where you are still not quite settled, just do 70 minutes rather than trying to hit an exact pace or distance.

GPS watches are a great tool but can often be more harmful than helpful. Don’t try and force the pace and distance of a run you know inside out back home in an area where you aren’t as comfortable.

 

TAKE A DAY OFF

Getting fit is about a balance between stress and rest. Chances are you will probably be going to sleep later and up earlier than you normally would be. Being surrounded by people every minute of the day can often leave you feeling a bit drained from being ‘on’ so much.

Play it safe and schedule a day off during the week so you can enjoy a lunchtime beer and kick back like a normal person for 12 hours. This will help to restore your reputation as something more than the fanatical ‘exerciser’ in the family.

Toeing the party line like this for a day may cause temporary insanity, given it will be a consistent recycling pattern of sitting, eating and the same stories over and over and over. Still, it will be good for the body and is also a great chance to bank some emotional capital that you will need for leaving early during the opening of presents for your tempo.

 

Enjoy the Holiday’s, and don’t forget to hydrate!

 

 

Better Beer Miles with Josh Harris

in ATHLETES/AUSTRALIA/INTERVIEWS/LIFESTYLE/RUNNING/SOS MAGAZINE by

 

Tomorrow Josh Harris (@_JoshHarris) will take on the world’s best at the Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships. Having recently run a solo 4:56 personal best as part of a time-trial, Harris enters the competition with a ranking of 8th.
Along with defending World Champ Corey Gallagher (@CoreyGallagher4) and superstar Lewis Kent (@lewiskentmiler), Harris is part of a Trio of SOS athletes who will toe the line in Austin with expectations of the podium.
We caught up with Josh before he headed out from his short stint in Colorado Springs to Texas for the Big Dance.

Walk us through the race this weekend… 

This has been my goal race since I resumed training after the Berlin Marathon (Ran a 10km PB, 29:42 the day before I flew out). I’m spending a few days with some friends at altitude in Colorado Springs before heading into Austin two days before the race. Once the race is finished I’m headed to New York for the first time with Canadian Beer Miler Lewis Kent.15536847_10210897104165065_771214771_o

What are the goals that you’re setting for yourself? 

I think I’m 6th fastest of the guys running the race on Saturday, as i’ve now slipped down to about #8 all time over the past year. I have a list of 5 goals that I would like to achieve in the race, and I would like to tick off as many of these as I can.

  1. Top 3 finish
  2. Sub 4:50
  3. Top 5 finish
  4. PB/AR: 4:56.25 Don’t spew

The Beer Mile is becoming a pretty popular event, what are some tips that the everyday beer miler can incorporate into their training to knock off some time? 

There are a few key strategies some of us use to be successful in the Beer Mile. Apart from some obvious race day tips that are around on the internet I’ll give 3 specific training methods that I have been using to try and maximise my performance:

  1. I have been incorporating beer strides to get some training in after the occasional run. (3 x 60m, beer, 60m, walk back)
  2. Try and build your capacity! I’m smaller than most of the other elite guys, so I do this by drinking some beers, while eating as much as I can. I occasionally fill a beer bottle with water and chug as many of those as I can in a row.15555377_10210906012747774_33107980_o
  3. Do a race simulation before race day. There’s nothing more specific than actually going out and doing one. It doesn’t have to be a full Beer Mile but try and do at least 3 beers, with race pace running. My weakness is not being able to run anywhere near mile pace on lap 2 & 3, which is why I need several practice workouts to get up to speed.

With all the beers available, what do you use on race-day?

To be official the beers need to be at least 355ml (12 oz) and 5% alcohol content, which limits the choices considerably. The easiest beer i’ve had that fits both criteria it the Budweiser Light Platinum. The beer is 6%, but it’s the volume that is the issue in the race, rather than the alcohol content.

You can’t always mix business and pleasure, what is your go-to beer on the off days? 

When I’m drinking casually I love to drink Van Dieman products. They are a local beer from back home in Tasmania and have been a really great supporter. They are a brand doing good things in the Tasmanian community. I really enjoy their Pale Ale, and I would say that it would definitely be my current beer of choice. 

Given that not all Beer Miles are on the track, what footwear will you go for? 

It depends what surface the race is being held on. The Beer Mile is still a somewhat underground event, so they can be held on the track, grass or road. I would wear the same shoe I would race a standard mile in. If the race is on the track I would use the Brooks Wire 4, but if it is road like the Flotrack World Championships I will use the Brooks Hyperion for a fast, lightweight feel.

 

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