Coaching

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.

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.

Guest Post: HOW TO OVERCOME EXCUSES AND SAFELY GET BACK TO RUNNING POST PREGNANCY

What do you think are the main things that stand in the way of getting back into running for new mums?  

This guest post with Sheree Brown from the awesome Port Melbourne Physiotherapy and Pilates explores exactly that!  Sheree and I explore accountability, motivation, overcoming excuses and how to safely get back into your exercise after giving birth.

Head over to the Port Melbourne Physiotherapy and Pilates website to check out this guest post.

1:53 half marathon to 100km record holder: Kirstin Bull

How do you go from a 1hr 53 half marathon to winning marathons and ultras, breaking records and representing Australia at the 100km World Championships?  Ask Kirstin Bull....

Kirstin Bull has won the Two Bays Trail Run and Great Ocean Road Marathon multiple times and smashed the Australian 100km record last year. For our FIRST EVER GO RUN PODCAST, I chatted to Kirstin about her running and even reminisce about her first ever half marathon. She chats about her training, coaching, strength and conditioning work, nutrition and her advice for new runners who want to hit the trails or train for ultra distances. We also discuss her wine or beer preferences ;-)

Check it out!

Kirstin is racing at the 100km World Championships in Spain in September and is fundraising to support that effort. You can find more info and donate here 

Good luck Kirstin!

 

Why are we so confused and frustrated with our running?

Why are we so confused and frustrated with our running?

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from a really nice guy living on the outskirts of Melbourne.  He was looking for a running coach to help him with his running.  We were talking about his goals and training over email and with his permission, I have given you part of the actual email correspondence that we had.  Check out his confusion….

"That's one of my problems at the moment, goals!  SO MANY OF THEM!  So my own training is in disarray.  I don't know whether to knock back and hit a 5-6 month patch of Maffetone running.  Then there's Matt Fitzgerald banging on about 80/20 running!  But on the other hand, we all want to go fast...and I KNOW i'm capable of going sub 3:30 over 42.2 and would LOVE to have a crack at a BQ, but for me thats a 3hr 05 marathon, which, well, yeah, I can't see that happening.  Basically, I think I've read way too much and now I have all these ideas in my head, but have no idea what's best for me."

WOW!  That’s a lot of goals, a lot of different methods and a lot of confusion to deal with.   Trust me, I can really sympathise with this.  It was not so long ago that my head was in this exact space.  It is a complete nightmare.  You don’t know where to turn, who to believe, what method or technique to try, what magazine or blog to read, what race to sign up to.  It sucks!  The sad thing is that this thought process is actually pretty normal amongst runners and is not exclusive to beginner runners at all. 

So where does our confusion stem from?

"But I don’t look like a runner"

"But I don’t look like a runner"

I hear this phrase quite a lot, particularly from those who are relatively new to running or lacking a bit of confidence.  It is usually said in the same sentence as “but I’m not a runner.”  This (as you are about to find out) frustrates me!  I believe that if you run, you are a runner, you can be a good runner and you should think of yourself as one, no matter what your shape or size.

I think part of the problem is that we are led to believe there is a certain shape that we should all be aspiring to look like in order to become the perfect runner.   Yeah sure, the guys and girls who are in the top 10 finishers of the marathon are usually pretty much the same shape (small, skinny, run / fly effortlessly and weigh about 50kgs) but after that, the similarities end.  I know guys who are 90+ kilos and run a 3 hour marathon and well as girls who are 5 feet tall and run a sub 20 minute 5km.  Go figure.  

Most of us are not in that elite category of runners and training for the upcoming Rio Olympics, nor will we ever be, so why do we need to adopt the same shape, weight, height, cadence and posture as these guys?  The answer is that we don’t.

From Injury to 5km PB!

Returning from injury is not easy.  It can be frustrating, annoying and tests our patience to the limit.  It was great to chat to Jane recently about how she has gone from serious injury to 5km personal best times by training consistently.  I loved this quote in particular...

"The first few weeks were hard, but you just have to get out there and do it!  

Jane has come back from a stress fracture in her foot, to running with confidence again and smashing personal best times at her local parkrun in Melbourne! Jane talks me through what she thinks of her Go Run training plan and how she keeps consistently training despite lots of travel with her work, by telling herself to " just get out there and do it."  She also shares some of the awesome events that she is considering for 2016. Enjoy!

 

Are you ready to run? If the answer is "YES!" then sign up here for your own running coach and personalised monthly training plan to get you running stronger, longer and faster.  I will get in touch straight away and we can begin working on getting your running to where you really want it to be!

"There's no way I can run 5k!"

I have heard this quote from lots of runners when they first start running...

"There's no way I can run 5k!" 

In this interview I chat to Maddie who also uttered those words at one point.  Maddie talks to me about how she went from "the girl who can't run" at school, and not running even 3 years ago, to a marathon personal best time at Melbourne Marathon in October 2015.  I find Maddie's story inspirational and I loved hearing about how she overcame some of the stresses associated with running and in particular the question of "what are people going to think of me?" in her most recent marathon.  Enjoy!

Are you ready to run? If the answer is "YES!" then sign up here for your own running coach and personalised monthly training plan to get you running stronger, longer and faster.  I will get in touch straight away and we can begin working on getting your running to where you really want it to be!

"I just want to get fit and stop getting injured"

 I hear this phrase from runners all the time... 

"I just want to get fit and stop getting injured."  

Particularly at this time of year, we have a tendency to go too hard into a new fitness routine, too soon.  There is no quicker way to undo all of your hard work, than getting injured, and trust me, getting injured sucks!  The mere thought of it was enough to persuade me to do a short 5 minute video talking to Physiotherapist Sally Maple about running injuries and how to prevent them. I ask her about areas to watch out for and stretches and exercises to help keep you injury free.  

Click below!