What to do when you hit a parkrun rut...

What to do when you hit a parkrun rut...

It’s probably not a very politically correct thing to say, but yes sometimes you can fall out of love with parkrun.  Having done over 150 parkruns, I can very safely say that the vast majority have been hugely enjoyable experiences and I would not trade my Saturday morning jaunt around the lake for much else.  I have dressed up, ran with no shoes, come first, come last, plateaued, PB’ed, paced people, raced people and most things between!  However, like many parkrunners, there have been times when my motivation has dipped and you sometimes just fall out of love with it for a while.  Now, I am not a doctor but I am going to diagnose this as 'hitting a parkrun rut.'

So when this awful ‘rut' strikes, what can you do?!?  

Shin Splints: What are they and how to treat them?

Shin Splints: What are they and how to treat them?

Ask most runners about injuries and at some point they will talk about shin splints. For many beginner runners in particular, this injury is the one that stops them running and stops them from gaining that all important consistency. As a coach I have seen this injury crop up a few times, so I decided to ask our resident physio, Sally Maple from Port Melbourne Physio and Pilates to give me some expert advice on shin splints, what they are, why they occur and how we can treat them. 

So what are shin splints?

What would you ask an athlete you admire?

What would you ask an athlete you admire?

I’ve often wondered if I was stuck in an elevator with an athlete that I really admired, what would I ask them? 

Recreational athletes are often fascinated by the habits and lives of elites and professional athletes.  How many hours do they train?  Do they do strength training?  Who are their idols?  What do they eat?  Do they drink alcohol?

It’s not very often you get the opportunity to chat to these people and ask these types of questions, so when Vanessa Murray, a former-professional Ironman triathlete from New Zealand agreed to sit down and chat with me over a juicy burger in Albert Park, I was really excited to try and de-mystify a few things...

How to overcome “I’m not a runner” syndrome. 

How to overcome “I’m not a runner” syndrome. 

As a running coach, I hear the words, "I’m not a runner” more often than you might think.  In fact, it is one of the most common phrases that I hear amongst people getting back into their running or getting started on their running journey for the first time.

As far as I’m concerned, if you run, you are a runner.  Whether you are fast or slow, whether you run one minute, once around the block, or one hundred kilometre ultra marathons, you are still a runner.

How to know if you are really running ‘easy.'

How to know if you are really running ‘easy.'

The runners I coach are more likely to see the words ‘easy,' 'medium' and ‘hard’ in their training plans than to see specific paces.  These are the three main efforts or intensities that I use in my coaching, as well as 'Race Effort'.   Of course there is a place for more paces, efforts and measurements, but in a world where we are inundated with so much information and so many metrics (that we don’t understand!), I prefer to keep things simple.

How to stay on top of your marathon training even when you travel for work

How to stay on top of your marathon training even when you travel for work

Meet Scott (aka Dr. Scott). Scott ran the Gold Coast Marathon with guidance and coaching from GoRun. Running one marathon is impressive.  At the time of writing, Scott had run 7 marathons, which is really impressive.  Running his fastest of all seven, by 73 seconds is super impressive, but none of this comes even close to Scott’s real story….

Don't Panic! How to Start Your Melbourne Marathon training on the right foot

Don't Panic! How to Start Your Melbourne Marathon training on the right foot

The Melbourne Marathon Festival is now not far away! Many runners are in the midst of their training for one of Australia’s biggest and most prestigious marathon events.  The finish line at the MCG awaits but first the real work of training has to be done.  The few months of running, recovery and planning will be challenging, but there are a few fundamentals that each of us need to stick to, no matter what pace or distance goals are.

Here are five of my top pieces of advice to surviving and flourishing over the next few months before your victory lap around the G’:

How to test if you really need a coach...

How to test if you really need a coach...

I was contacted recently by a woman looking to improve her 5km parkrun time.  She was weighing up whether a coach and a training plan would work for her and wanted to hear more about what was involved.  

As we chatted on the phone, we asked each other questions and it became apparent that she would benefit from more accountability, more structure and from someone taking the guess work out of her training, so we decided to begin working together on her goal.  I have had similar conversations, where it quickly becomes apparent that my coaching would not suit the other person.  From my experience, certain types of people respond well to coaching and training plans.  Others, not so much.  That is absolutely fine.  I have plenty of close friends who would never dream of getting a running coach.  For others, with the help of a coach, they have improved beyond what they thought possible and are getting the personal best times that they were after. Running, training and exercise is highly individual.

So what can I honestly advise people who are asking themselves,"Do I need a coach?”  

Older Doesn't Mean Slower!

Older Doesn't Mean Slower!

We love to share the stories behind our awesome runners, and this one is a treat. This is Trev, who is the first runner that Coach Chris ever coached, and his dad!  

Trev is now a spritely 65 years old and has run for recreation and fitness for over 30 years, completing 6 marathons (all of them under 4hrs 15 mins), over 20 half marathons, plus many other shorter races road and trail races.  Over a 14 week period, he was coached and prepared for the Great North Run half marathon, which takes place in his home town of Newcastle (UK) in mid September every year.

The mind games we play when getting back into running

The mind games we play when getting back into running

It’s 5:30 AM.  I roll over and think, “I can’t be bothered.”  

I’ve got a slight hangover after one too many wines last night, but I’m trying to get back into a routine of exercising regularly.  The battle rages in my slightly hazy head.  

"Do I get up and run, or do I stay here in bed and potentially feel guilty about it for the rest of the day?"  

No movement.  No movement in the rest of the house either.  Not even the dog wants to go out, and she probably needs to pee more than I do.  

"Why is this so difficult?  I hate feeling like this.  Just get up and go!  This was so easy 6 weeks ago!"

"Did I get my shoes and running gear together last night?…. No.  Eurgh.  It’s too difficult.  I’m going to leave it.  Oh come on…"

….and so the battle rages until I decide one way or the other.  To run or not to run, that is the question.

It’s a rubbish and emotionally exhausting way to start a day, but it’s the way that so many people start theirs.  Welcome to unstructured training and time off for the Type A runner!  After 6 months of solid training, dedication and commitment, with almost no morning procrastination, now is the time for rest and recharge, but like many runners after their big race, I feel like this.

Run / Walking Busselton Marathon... and loving it!

Run / Walking Busselton Marathon... and loving it!

Sydney Marathon (Marathon 13) was a really tough experience, both on the day and in the week after.  I felt like I had lost fitness, re-injured an old achilles problem and gotten very glum in the process of it all.  Not ideal.  

 

Fast forward 3 weeks and the 17 marathons fun bus was heading over to Western Australia.  This was my first ever trip to W.A and I was travelling there to run Busselton Marathon on Sunday 8 October.  Whilst I still had the nagging achilles issue that was stopping me from running, I was grateful to be feeling way more positive in the lead up to this one.  I was worried about my ability to complete the run, but positive nevertheless.  I was particularly worried when I discovered the day before that I hadn’t actually signed up to the run at all!  OOPS!!  I am starting to believe that there is such a thing as 'runners brain’…. its a thing….

Protecting my down side…

Protecting my down side…

I’m nervous about writing this post.  I thought about not typing this up or waiting until I felt differently.  I even started a different post to reflect on Sydney Marathon and the weekend that just past, but this is how I have been thinking and feeling for the last couple of days.

 

I feel fat, unfit, injured and well…down.  I can barely listen to any semi-sentimental music in the car, have any emotional conversations without wanting to cry or shout at someone.  I just beeped the car horn at the builders in our street because they are taking up the whole street and all the parking spaces. That’s Kath’s territory, not mine.  I’m telling you that someone is going to cop a random outpouring of emotion soon.  Who will be the lucky winner??  This is the part of the 17 marathons challenge that really sucks. The downer.  The post marathon blues.  The supposed calm after the storm of the marathon a few days ago.  

Now I know what 11 laps of The Tan feels like...

Now I know what 11 laps of The Tan feels like...

Last weekend was awesome...

Marathon 12 was back on home turf, running 11 laps around the Tan Track in Melbourne, following some time away for Alice Springs Marathon the previous weekend.  I was really pleased with what I had done in Alice Springs and my aim for this marathon was simply to improve on that time of 3:22, only 7 days later.  I enjoy the challenge of backing up marathons one week after another and it gives the second run a bit more purpose.  I seem to get that little bit more determined to not be slower or fade at all.  It’s like a giant 'negative split' I suppose.  

On race morning, I had woken up early to the sound of torrential rain and howling wind at about 5 am.  Bugger.  The thought crossed my mind to just drop the run, eat lots, drink wine and simply reschedule, but the thought of then trying to fit another marathon into the remaining 4 months of the year, persuaded me to get my arse out of bed and get cracking on some coffee and breakfast.

ALICE SPRINGS: MARATHON 11 (The one with the NO GPS WATCH experiment…)

ALICE SPRINGS: MARATHON 11 (The one with the NO GPS WATCH experiment…)

Well its been a while since I wrote last, but marathon 11 is now done and dusted!  I’m at the airport in Alice Springs, the sun is shining and I am on my way home, back to Melbourne.  I am growing to like this place.  This is my second trip here in a couple of months and I am starting to learn my way around, meet new people, see new things and feel a little more comfortable.

 

The last marathon I ran was Cairns Marathon on 9th July, so this was the longest break so far within the 17 marathons journey.  I definitely needed it after nursing myself through 3 marathons in 3 weeks back in June / July.  

How to spend your wedding anniversary running...

How to spend your wedding anniversary running...

Q: What are you doing for your wedding anniversary, Chris...?  

A: Going up to Noosa to run a marathon with a mate.  

Hmm....

In fairness, I did a bit more than run a marathon over the weekend of 15 May.  I ate a significant amount of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, caught a (kind of) tan and got to run with / watch our good friend and fellow coach Michael Harvey compete in the Australian Ultraman event. Epic-ness!

On a serious note, I got so much from this trip, but before I go into that I need you to understand that Ultraman is simply beyond anything I have personally ever done, trained for or wish to do.  It is a triathlon, done over 3 days, with the total distances being a 10km swim, 421km bike and 84km run.  Yes, you read that right…. So as you can see, my marathon effort kind of gets lost in the midst of all of that epic-ness!  That, together with the fact that this was not an event about me, with no official marathon time, no medal, no pacers, no bibs, no kilometer markers and no aid stations, but a monumental triathlon over 3 full days undertaken by only 54 athletes, made this a weird and wonderful experience for me, which I think will be unlike any of the 16 other events I do this year.