Last year I spoke at a conference in Washington, DC about how to train for the half marathon.
And I probably offended one of the other panelists…
Let me tell you why:
After the presentation, we were answering questions and a runner stood up and asked, “I’ve run a lot of half marathons but I can never crack 2 hours. What can I do?”
One of the other panelists fired back, “If you’re not doing any sprints, you should start doing HIIT.” (high intensity interval training)
Then it was my turn – and I completely contradicted the other panelist.
Instead of firing off an answer, I asked a lot of questions:
- What’s your weekly mileage usually like before a half marathon?
- Do you run a faster workout at least once per week?
- How long are your long runs leading up to the half?
- Do you struggle with injuries?
It’s irresponsible to give advice if you don’t have enough information to give a good answer. And I’d rather not answer your question than give you a BS answer…
So after I understood this runner’s training background, I gave her three suggestions on how she can absolutely demolish her personal best.
Above all, she needed to stay healthy. Injury after injury interrupted her training, preventing progress in her quest to break 2:00 in the half.
HIIT workouts would just make things worse!
Rather than compounding her injuries problems, a focus on injury prevention would make her a lot faster. This free course would do her wonders…
But you know the funny thing? This runner was upset – she wanted to know a new pacing tip or workout that would instantly elevate her performance.
Uhm… there are no magic workouts, guys.
There are no shortcuts to success. There is only work – and a lot of it.
Here’s the Truth:
But most runners don’t really want the blunt truth. We want the PC version: “You’ll prevent injuries if you believe in yourself!”
Well, maybe. But only if you’ve also put in the work.
Later in the conference, someone asked me about my half marathon personal best. I told her my PB was 1:13:39 (5:37 mile pace). Incredulous, her next question was HOW?!
That’s where it gets complicated. Here’s what I said:
Well I had already been running for nearly a decade before I ever ran a half. I had practiced getting “fast” in shorter distances first by running cross country and track in high school and college.
My mileage was usually over 80 miles/week with a 15-19 mile long run – almost every week of the year. I consistently ran 2-3 faster workotus every week, too.
I’m actually not that talented – and sometimes I was inconsistent – but I worked really hard for a very long time.
She did NOT like my answer. Her jaw visibly dropped and she went back to asking about her upcoming race.
Remember, my training numbers are just an example. YOU don’t have to run that much – but the insight here is that working hard (relative to your ability) will bring results. There are plenty of people who run a lot more than I ever did.
The key lesson is that most people are looking for shortcuts. They don’t want to know the truth about what it takes to be successful.
You probably know a runner like this: always going from fad workout to fad workout, trying “a little bit of everything.” They say:
“I tried Body Pump a few times but only went every few weeks.”
“I ran a faster workout once in awhile before my marathon, but I haven’t run fast in awhile.”
“I go to the gym occasionally and do some lunges or whatever class they’re teaching.”
And they’re stuck running the same race times – or are always injured, dealing with a neverending cycle of injuries.
There’s no consistency. And there’s no progression.
Can you imagine if these runners consistently put in the work? Here’s what it looks like:
But here’s the thing…
You know I’m from Boston and can be direct. I’ll always be honest with you, so here goes: if you want results, I can get them for you. But you have to work.
This is the reason why I turn down coaching clients every month. If a runner wants a “quick fix” or only wants a coach for a few weeks, I politely decline.
These runners want the magic workout – but there are none. They want running to be easy – but it’s not always easy.
I can’t help these runners. But I know that’s not you – we shun shortcuts here at SR because we know the real “magic” is consistently putting in the work.
For example, I took an assement that explained how the world sees me:
I’m “results-oriented” and maintain a “sharp focus on objective.” I’m always finding new ways to improve. So true!
This carries over into my coaching: your results become my goals. And my #1 focus is to help you accomplish that goal. Just like I did for Liz, Bret and Rebecca:
“I’m happy to say that I PR’d by a minute and forty seconds in my marathon. The best part was that I remained injury free! I feel better and stronger than ever. Thank you for making running easier and even something to look forward to. Your plan gave me a strength that I didn’t know I had or was capable of!” – Liz
“Things are going well so far with my IT band. I went to a few sessions of PT and when I showed them the warmups and strength workouts from the program, they said there’s basically no reason for me to continue with the PT workouts.” – Bret
“Last month I purchased the Injury Prevention for Runners program and I had a breakthrough. My last several runs have been incredible. I ran my fastest 7 and 9 miles ever. Never before have I managed 7 miles in under an hour and ten minutes. Last weekend my 9-miler clocked in around 1 hr, 33 min – another personal best.
I don’t just feel better; I feel transformed – like a brand new runner. I’ve never run like this – with strength and without aches and pains. Thank you for the great runs and strength routines. They are making a huge difference, and once again I’m excited to run and discover what improvements I can make.” – Rebecca
I’m SO EXCITED to help runners who are ready to work.
Is that you? If so, this is for you.
Announcing: Injury Prevention Week!
This week at SR we’re focusing on injury prevention. You can expect strategies that minimize your risk of overuse injuries and case studies of how other runners have dealt with constant injuries over their entire running careers.
And we’re focusing on training strategies that actually work! No BS about the latest new stretch or how you should walk every two minutes to “let your muscles rest.”
Instead, we’ll work together to lift the veil on what it really takes to stay healthy. Because after all:
Injury Prevention Week isn’t just going on here on the SR blog. I’ll also be sharing all-new material on these platforms, so don’t miss anything:
If you’re ready to work, I’m ready to help you transform your running.
I think this is going to be a huge turning point in your running career so get excited!
Make sure you’re on the Strength Running Team to get the best stuff – just sign up here and I’ll take care of sending you the first coaching lesson.