Summer Running

Ahhhh! Summer running is in full swing (finally)! Personally, I feel like I’m in my element right now. I’m in my fourth week of training for the Chicago Marathon and I’m excited to incorporate some new things into my training plan. I’m focusing on coaching myself the same way I do my clients instead of just flying by the seat of my pants. I’m even using the same google spreadsheet format I use with them!

I ran my first solo long run Sunday, so I downloaded some new tunes (I was still listening to my playlist from last June!). I find that I like a combination of music styles so that I’m not sprinting the entire hour and forty-five minutes I’m running. Sometimes running with music annoys me, but other times it sends me to a retrospective place that propels me into the future. I’m pretty sure that sentence doesn’t really make sense, so just roll with  it.

The first four weeks of my training looked like this:

  • 4 – 5 days of running (1 long run, 1 tempo run, 2 easy runs with 1 day of strides and sometimes a bonus run just because)
  • 1 day of strength training (should really be two)
  • 1 Hot Power Yoga Class
  • 1 Easier Yoga Class

I have a cutback week coming up and then I’ll add specific speed work into the mix. I’m excited to be working hard again!


I start out running too slow. My adrenaline and nerves at the start of a race slow me down. I just can’t seem to speed up.”

These are sentences I’ve never heard a runner say when giving their race recap.

On the other hand, raise your hand if after a race you’ve ever said “I started out too fast” or “I just couldn’t slow down enough during the first few miles and I blew it“.

Nearly every runner I’ve ever spoken to tells me that at some point during their running career they have had trouble starting a race at the appropriate pace. The best way to break this bad habit is to practice this during training and to have a specific race day pacing strategy in place.


However, fresh legs from tapering, race day excitement and adrenaline can make sticking to your pacing plan difficult in the first few miles of the race. Here’s what to do if you start out running too fast in your next race:

#1: Don’t panic. Acknowledge the fact that you are running too fast, but don’t judge your pace or yourself. Instead of beating yourself up with negative thoughts, tell yourself this: “I’m going too fast, but that’s okay. I just need to pull back the reigns a little to nail my pace.”

#2 Correct your course ASAP! It doesn’t take long to notice you started out too fast. Your breath rate, stride, arm swing and foot strike provide immediate feedback letting you know you’re off pace. Once you notice you’re off pace,  slow down.

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 10.02.40 AM

#3 Don’t pass the person just ahead of you: One of the easiest ways to slow down is to run behind the person in front of you instead of passing them. Then, once you’re behind them don’t allow yourself to pass them until you’re locked into your planned pace for the first few miles of the race.

#4 Give yourself a little leeway. As part of your race day strategy, plan on giving yourself the first .5-1.0 mile to settle into your pace. When you reach the 1 mile marker, slow your pace down. If you’re running a marathon or half marathon, running one mile a bit too fast won’t ruin your race. If you’re running a shorter race then you’ll need to reign your pace back in before you reach the one-mile marker.



How many of you are running a fall marathon? If you haven’t started training yet, now is the time to map out your training plan!

If you’ve been building a strong base throughout the summer months, a sixteen to eighteen week training plan is ideal. Yes, you can get by with a shorter training cycle, but who wants to “just get by“?

How Long Should My Marathon Training Plan Be?

When I qualified for the Boston Marathon last June, I had the longest training cycle of my life. It wasn’t on purpose, but in retrospect it was one of the best things that could have happened. I never felt more prepared both physically and mentally than I did when I reached the starting line of the 2013 Rock’n’Roll San Diego Marathon (read my race recap here).

The biggest challenge of the longer training cycle was staying focused and not burning out. However, I was able to overcome both of those things by having a laser-like focus on my goal and by making sure my training included activities besides running.

Aren’t convinced you want to take on a longer training cycle this summer? Here’s a list of reasons why you should consider it.

  1. Make-up sessions: A long training schedule allows you to miss or mess-up one or two workouts without negatively affecting the outcome of your race and gives you time to fit in a missed run elsewhere on your training schedule.
  2. More scheduled recovery weeks: The body needs to rest to reap the benefits of your hard work, while the mind needs a break from the rigors of training.
  3. Not every weekend is filled with long runs: When you have the extra weeks to build endurance, you can spend time on the weekend doing mid-distance runs at goal pace or longer tempo runs – instead of 20-milers every weekend.
  4. Peace of Mind: A longer training cycle will help you get to the start line feeling prepared. You’ll never have to ask yourself  the question: “Did I do enough?”


How Gary Took 10 Minutes Off His PR to BQ & 4 Things You Should Start Doing Now

May 13, 2014

I have such a fun story to share with you today. Last December, Alyssa reached out to purchase a Race Pace Wellness marathon coaching program for her husband, Gary, as a Hanukkah gift (best present ever!). This super-fit couple started running marathons in 2012, setting the goal to complete a marathon in all 50-states. As it turns out, both […]

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Race Pace Training Diaries: Nike Women’s DC Half Marathon Recap

May 12, 2014

The spring edition of Race Pace Training Diaries follows Jackie, a Race Pace Runner, on her journey of acheiving a big half marathon PR this spring. Learn more about Jackie and her goals here. Before For about a week leading up to the race, it was basically all I could think about! On the day before the big […]

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Boston Marathon Recap: Undertrained & Overjoyed

April 30, 2014

*I wrote this post a few days ago. Since then, I’ve tried to think of how to edit this so it would better capture what April 21st meant to me on a personal level and what it meant to our larger running community. However, I haven’t been able to find the words. The memory and the […]

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Race Pace Training Diaries: Ready to Race!

April 25, 2014

The spring edition of Race Pace Training Diaries follows Jackie, a Race Pace Runner, on her journey of acheiving a big half marathon PR this spring. Learn more about Jackie and her goals here. This is it. It’s race week. I’m nervous. For the past 12 weeks I’ve been following along with the training spreadsheet Jess and I […]

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Race Pace Training Diaries: Staying Motivated

April 8, 2014

The spring edition of Race Pace Training Diaries follows Jackie, a Race Pace Runner, on her journey of acheiving a big half marathon PR this spring. Learn more about Jackie and her goals here. With the race just around the corner (!!), I’ve been thinking a lot about staying motivated. As I wrote about previously, the first couple weeks […]

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2014 1st Quarter Review

April 2, 2014

  * I saw this topic pop up on #runchat this past week and thought it would be fun to summarize how my 1st quarter of running went 2014. One word to describe my training from January to March: Inconsistent One word to describe how I feel about being inconsistent: Blah Favorite Run: 14 miles […]

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The Age Old Question: Should I Run With a Cold?

March 29, 2014

Like many other things, there’s no one right answer that works for everyone when trying to decide if you should run when you have a cold. However, here are a few non-scientific reasons why I generally choose to rest over run. Running at a modified intensity level due to not feeling well will most likely […]

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