“He Was a Wise Man Who Invented Beer”-Plato

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Last night was Pint Night at our running group. Incidentally (or perhaps not so incidentally) it was my husband’s first night to join.

Let me share a little something I have learned about runners. We like to drink! Now, I know that not all runners drink and I have read some really inspirational blogs around here about people who have struggled through some very difficult substance abuse addictions and used running to help guide them on their journey. I have great admiration for them and their work to live a strong, clean life.

But for the vast majority of runners all you need to offer is beer at the end of a run and we will push and shove to be first in line.

Last month while taking my certification course to become a distance running coach the key speaker made a joke about how much runners like a victory drink or two. The entire room broke into a knowing chuckle. I could totally relate!

Someone looks happy post 10k and an IPA!

Someone looks happy post 10k and an IPA!

You can imagine what happens when a running group advertises that they will be offering beer and pizza post snowy run. Runners unite.

I have now gone to several group runs both co-ed and Chick’s Nights and one thing I have found is that I might not run with the same person every time, but I always have a great conversation with someone and a great run. Beer or no beer, it was a great evening. I have spent 5 miles chatting with a mother of toddler twins about her plans to balance her work, parenting, and marriage while training for a triathalon. One of my first evenings the group spent the entire run helping me get acquainted with my new neighborhood and tips on the best places to visit. I also had a run learning about the art of home beer brewing and making dandelion wine.

Now that is encouragement!

Now that is encouragement!

Last night I met an amazing gentleman who found running again last year, out of shape and over weight. A year later he had lost 70 pounds and is training for a marathon next spring. Awesome can’t even begin to sum it up. He was incredibly grateful for our local running store who was putting on the group runs and also for how they have helped him along his new path in life. He came to the store overweight and unsure even of what kind of shoes to wear or where to start. They were patient, showed him what gear he needed and have been a support system for him as he followed the path to a new healthy lifestyle. He now loves running again (he ran in college) and was beaming as he told this story. I was truly inspired.

His story is one that we can all learn from. Some of us have run for years and find it easy. Others have never run a mile and don’t have the slightest idea where to begin.  The thought of even putting that first foot forward is frightening.  We all come from a desire to learn and to make ourselves better and healthier.  I love cheering for my friends and fellow runners!

Even the races know how to get the runners going.

Even the races know how to get the runners going.

If you are looking to pick up running or just need to find some inspiration or motivation to get out the door on these dark chilly nights, look to your local running groups. Check out your local running store for info on group runs as they are a very valuable resource.

The RRCA website http://www.rrca.org has a list of local running groups based on both cities and states. I highly recommend visiting their website for more information.

A shout out and thank you to Fleet Feet Chicago for hosting yet another great event and evening of running….and of course good job on the beer (Goose Island IPA is my favorite!). Cheers!

I totally understand.

I totally understand.

If you need just one more reason to justify that extra beer…or two, some research shows that a post workout beer may in fact rehydrate you better than water.  Beer contains both electrolytes and carbohydrates (hello recovery fuel).  Now research says 1 beer, but who knows?  Why don’t you be the judge on that one and let me know.

Put me in coach…..

RRCA2I’m ready to run, today!

For over a year I have been trying to find a Road Runners Club of America coaching course.  As a trainer and athletic/skating coach I wanted the opportunity to learn even more about teaching the sport of running and to officially be certified as a distance running coach.

As luck would have it, I was able to get into the Ann Arbor course a few weeks ago.  I had an amazing time at the clinic.  I learned so much valuable information from the lead coach Randy Acetta and all of the training material.  The most incredible part of the weekend was that Olympic marathon gold medalist and the man credited for the running boom in America, Frank Shorter, was sitting next to me the whole time.  Mr. Shorter was taking the class along with the rest of us students to become a certified coach as well.  This speaks mountains to see that even an Olympic champion realizes there is always more for coaches to learn.  To be able to sit in on the course and hear Frank Shorter relate a lot of the topics to his training and races was invaluable.

The RRCA packs a ton of information into the two day training session (but plan on spending 18 hours during those two days in class).  The first day focused heavily on the history of running and coaching the sport, types of running you can use in your training, along with nutrition and form.  The second day finishes up with a large portion focused on learning to create training programs for different athletes of all levels and racing styles.

I came away from this clinic with a lot of information.  Some of it I was familiar with but a lot of it was insightful or brought new ideas for helping train individual athletes to meet their needs.

Below are a few key points that I took away from the weekend:

•We runners tend to get stuck in a rut, we need variety in our training and it is important to switch it up with short runs, long runs, slow runs, speed work, hill work, you name it. Point being, there is no need to get bored.  There are plenty of workouts to make running fun. And runs are runs, a long run and a short run are all relative.  I remember first running and doing a 30 minute run and thinking I was the running queen.  Running is hard, whether you have done it for years or just have started.  But if you just started, it does get more fun, I promise!

•Slow down!  One of the best training techniques you can do for yourself is to slow it down and take your time.  It isn’t always a race and when you are training for a race your body needs some slow conversation paced runs.  The slower you run and the longer the times you spend on the road running slow, the more your lungs and muscles love you!

•Life and running are about making do.  If your schedule doesn’t permit it or your body isn’t handling it, something has to give and you need to find a new prescription to your training to make things work.

•No two runners are the same.  We can’t use cookie cutter programs when training athletes.  Every athlete has individual needs and we need to find a way to work within each athletes parameters.  You don’t like to run long?  You get tired after a few minutes?  That is ok, there is a way to tailor a run to suit you.

•Put good stuff in your body, rest, and listen to your body.

•Find a way to be a cooperative coach.  Sitting back and not doing anything or constantly yelling at your athletes isn’t the way to effective coaching.  Listen and TEACH!

RRCA3If you are interested in coaching or to just learn more about the sport and yourself as an athlete I highly recommend this class.  You can find more information on coaching certification clinics at www.rrca.org.  Keep in mind that these courses fill up incredibly fast.  Be prepared to check their site often and if a course opens near you, don’t hesitate to sign up.