The long run, for me, is a fickle beast, with the emphasis changing from week to week depending on what we’re trying to get out of it. It doesn’t always have to be long and slow; sometimes we’ll alternate paces to keep things interesting and get a little more aerobic bang for our buck per mile. The Alternating Miles Long Run, which bounces back and forth between marathon pace and the faster end of your normal training pace, is one of my favorite sessions to assign my athletes, whether they’re in marathon training or not. Here are the details:(more…)
I first read about this workout, made popular by former Boston winner and marathon world champion Rob De Castella of Australia, in Michael Sandrock’s Running With The Legends (one of my favorite running books of all-time, for what it’s worth) when I was in high school. I first wrote about it for Competitor, now PodiumRunner, five years ago. The session’s construction is simple: 8 x 400m with a scant 200-meter float for “recovery” between repetitions. It’s efficient and effective but it ain’t easy! Here are the details:(more…)
My friend and former podcast guest Peter Bromka recently published a lengthy essay about his about his two-year chase for the Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier called, “The Bubble of a Dream.” And even though he’s written and spoken extensively about his sub-2:19 quest, this recollection of a journey that was filled with disappointment and self-doubt but changed him in ways beyond just becoming a faster runner is worth carving out some time to read. I got a sneak peek of the piece and recently interviewed him about it. You can read our exchange below.(more…)
“What I love about running, and what I love even more about running than I ever loved about dancing, is how human it is. It’s a fundamental human gait: We crawl, we walk, we run, technically, apparently, skipping is also another gait, and so when you get better at it, for myself, I just felt more human. At that point in my life already, I had been through so many movement methods in trying to get myself together as a dancer: so much yoga, Klein technique, Gyrotonics, Alexander, Trager, everything that was out there I had done, practically, that I could find, and that was a lot. It all had effects, gave me different sensations. There’s a certain way that I feel after I do yoga, but after I run, I realize I feel more human, as in a member of my species—it’s really pronounced, really profound—and I really love working with that more than anything else.”
Jae Gruenke is a highly sought-after expert on running form and technique. She’s also a Feldenkrais Practitioner, founder of The Balanced Runner, and has helped countless runners from beginners to Olympians improve their form and performance since 2003.
I’ve been following Jae’s work for a little while now and recently found out that she doesn’t live far from me, so we sat down at a local park and had a conversation that I think you’ll really enjoy and take a lot away from. We talked about what it is that Jae does exactly and how she uses the Feldenkrais Method of Movement Education to help runners with their technique. She told me how she got into running after years as a professional dancer and how solving her own problems led her to working with others who were navigating similar issues. We discussed what mainstream publications miss when it comes to running technique, common places where runners go wrong, and what she considers to be the six elements of good form. We also got into cadence, the influence of footwear, the analyses she does on the elite fields in major races, and a lot more.
“There’s things we take for granted, as athletes, as coaches, and sometimes when you have those things taken away from you, you really just realize how much they mean to you and I think every opportunity we get to show up to work, every opportunity we get to showcase our talents, it should be done with gratitude, it should be done through gratitude. Gratitude should be the entry point to all that we do and all that we accomplish in life and I think as long as we keep that as our center focus, your perspective in sport and in life—you know, sport right now but definitely life in the future—it just changes.”
Diljeet Taylor is the Associate Director of Cross Country and Track and Field at BYU, where she’s coached since 2016. In 2019, her women’s cross-country team finished second at the NCAA championships—only six points behind Arkansas—and it was the first time the Cougars had been on the podium since 2003. Prior to BYU, Diljeet coached both the men’s and women’s cross country and track programs at her alma mater, Division 2 Cal State Stanislaus, for nine years.
I absolutely loved this conversation and I think you will too. We talked about how Diljeet and her team have navigated the pandemic on both an individual and collective level. She told me about her emphasis on gratitude and why it’s such a big part of the culture she’s created at BYU, her mission of empowering women, and the importance of investing in people and not performances. Diljeet and I discussed how she got into coaching, the influence coach Frank Gagliano had on her decision to pursue it as a career, and how she makes it work as mom of two kids and full-time Division 1 coach. We also talked about the self-check she does every day, the effect of social media on athletes this day and age, balancing confidence and humility, and a lot more.
Long intervals or short hill sprints for your next workout? Trick question. The answer is both! I like to combine different training elements from time to time to keep workouts interesting and help us get a little something extra out of them. In this workout, we’ll “interrupt” a session of 2-mile repeats with two 10-second hill sprints at near max effort. Here are the details:(more…)