Thursday, February 15, 2018

Workout of the Month!

Tempo/ Hill Combo

Most runners at some point have done a tempo run or hill workout before as they are common workouts. However, not many runners have done a tempo/hill combination workout. This is one of my favorite workouts as it is working on your endurance and muscle power (speed) at the same time. It is a short effective workout that gives you a lot of “bang for you buck”. This is an effective workout that can be used whether you are training for a 5k or an ultra marathon. There are many variations of this workout and I will share some examples below.

Basic version:
3 mile tempo @ 10k-Half marathon pace.
3 minute easy recovery jog
5 by one minute hill repeats with jog down rest. Run the uphill’s at a hard effort and focus on attacking the hill. Your legs should be struggling towards the end of this!

* If you are a beginner runner feel free to do a 10-15 minutes for the tempo run. 

More Advanced option( tempo/hill/tempo)
2 mile tempo run @ 10k-HM pace
3 min easy jog
5 by one minute hill repeats with jog down
3 min easy jog
2 mile tempo( try to beat the first time).

Marathon Version of the Workout( longer hills). 
4 miles @ Half marathon pace.
4-5 by 2 min hill repeats with jog down rest.
*Good midweek workout during marathon training.

So if you are looking for something new then give this workout a try. I promise you will get a lot of bang for your buck as you will be working on your endurance and muscle power all in the same workout! 

*Also I am in the process of accepting new clients. If you are training for a 5k, 10k, HM, Marathon,  Ultra, or Triathlon and want to take your training to the next level shoot me a message. My coaching is done through the finalsurge app(  and I am in the process of setting up a facebook page as well. Sometimes just changing the type of training you are doing is enough to get you to achieve those goals! Thanks for reading and feel free to message me with any questions you may have.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Making Big Decisions in Training!

Running marathons takes a big commitment and a lot of time. I have been running two marathons a year for the last 8 years. Some years injury forced me to skip a marathon as training at a high level does take its toll on the body. I ran the NYC marathon this past fall and then in December I started to train again as I prepared for Boston. However, the first week of January I hurt the back of my knee and it has caused me to run with a shorter stride. I have not done any speed work  in the past month and every time I try that area instantly locks up. I have also noticed it is forcing me to land on my heels when running and I have been experiencing heel pain in both feet. I toke a three day break hoping that would fix things but it has not. I told myself if I can not start doing workouts by the first week of February then I would change my racing plans this spring.

So here we are on February 6th and I have been battling the mental part of this decision for the last week. Last week I was pretty sore as I was having heel pain in both feet and definitely walking with a limp. I debated this all weekend but I forced myself to get out the door and run even though motivation was lacking. I found myself thinking about what to do constantly and these last two days I was actually hoping the knee tightness would get worse so I could shut it down and get 100% healthy. The fact I was thinking this way and was totally unmotivated to run for a week straight now is a sign that I need to listen to. I love running as my life is not the same without  but if I am hoping pain/soreness gets worse so I can back out of a race then that is a sign that I am not invested in it.
So I am going to take some down time(week off) and most likely skip Boston this spring. The way I look at it is if I have not been able to run with a normal stride for the last month then I am probably doing more harm then good as I have had shin and heel soreness pop up because of this. This is a sign that the body is trying to tell me something as training for a month without improvement shows that rest is probably needed.

I have also been losing interest mentally in the marathon the last two years as I have been debating and talking about doing an ultra for the last two years. The only reason I had considered Boston this spring was to go all in and go after a sub 230 one more time. I know what it takes to accomplish that and right now I just don't have the proper buildup going for it and I have no passion for racing it right now. This is the bigger reason why I think I am making this decision. I am suffering through mental burnout right now as trying to train when things are not going well or are not 100% healthy has just taken its toll on me. I am going to listen to my heart/mind and take a week off and then go after that ultra marathon goal that I have been debating for the last two years. You got to follow your heart and right now mine is telling me to go the ultra path instead of running Boston at 75%.

Just typing this blog up right now has taken a ton of stress of my shoulders. I have not been sleeping great over the last few weeks as I have been debating this. I am confident in this decision and my advice to everyone is to follow your heart and to listen to the body! I am sure I will miss Boston a little on race day but I have done it five times and running fast is more important to me then just taking part in this race. Marathon Monday will still be a great day as I will get to cheer on four athletes that I have running this race and who knows maybe an American victory! Who knows I am still entered in the race so if my mind changes and things improve quickly I can jump in last minute.  But by making this decision today I feel like  I have ridden myself of a lot of unnecessary stress I was dealing with!

Thanks for reading and remember a bit of mental burnout can happen to all of us so listen to your body and make sure you are having fun and are excited for your upcoming races!


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Dealing with Injuries

Injuries are a frustrating thing to deal with but every runner will most likely have them occur at some point in their lives. It may be a major injury like a stress fracture or it could be something like tendinitis or a muscle sprain. I find the tendinitis and strain injuries to be just as frustrating. The problem with these injuries is a lot of the time you can train through them by just dealing with the pain. Sometimes you can heal the injury and not miss time but other times you have to shut it down. My general advice is if the pain gets worse as the run goes along then that is a sign to stop. A sports chiropractor( Dr. Tom Michaud) that I see who is famous in the running industry has a general rule that if the pain gets worse then a 5 on the scale of 1-10 then stop. So these type of injuries can be tough to deal with as you debate whether you should keep training or shut it down completely.I constantly struggle with these two options when dealing with an injury.

I am writing this blog today as I am dealing with some minor issues currently. I had been dealing with a minor knee issue that prevented from doing speed work the last few weeks. Anytime I tried to push things it would flare up on me but I could run an easy pace with no issues. Then about ten days ago on a run I had a freaky incident happen. The wind blew my hat off and I had to turn around and grab it off the street. When I resumed running I instantly felt a sharp stabbing pain on the outside of my left heel. So I finished that run and toke two days off as it hurt to walk. I then resumed training last week and had a 105 mile week but no speed work still. Things were going well but over the weekend I had started to get pain in the heel area again. Actually it was in both heels but I have a chronic issue in my right heel so I expect that to flare up from time to time. However, the left heel was getting very stiff in the morning and so after dealing with it for three days I decided to take some rest. I toke two days off and today I struggled with the decision  of taking one more day off rest or to return to running.  I debated this for over an hour and was actually dressed to run! However, I finally toke it as a sign that if I was debating things this long then I should trust my instincts and take one more day off. Was this the right decision, who knows!  Although I am comfortable with the decision I made as I think you should always go with your gut and trust your instincts. The younger me would of gone out and run today no matter what. As I age I tend to be more conservative and listen to my mind and body more often. So, if you are ever going through something like this my advice to you is to go with your first instinct and to trust your gut. There is a reason you were thinking that way so when in doubt go with that initial thought. One other rule I tend to follow is when I think I am ready to return from injury like today then I always take one more day to be safe. As runners we can have high pain tolerances and sometimes this is good but other times it is bad as you are just harming your body. So by following this rule it just prevents you from being too aggressive which I know I usually am.

Hopefully I can return to hard training by the weekend but who knows as its up to the body to heal itself. Thanks for reading and happy/healthy training to everyone out there!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

1/1 Fartlek Workout!

I am a huge fan of fartlek runs as after a long day at work I find them less stressful then typical track or tempo workouts. I find I don't stress about covering a certain distance as I just focus on listening to my body and running by feel. A lot of the time I actually get a better overall workout in then if I did a straight tempo or track workout. My favorite fartlek session is the 1/1 fartlek that is used regularly by a lot of the Kenyan training groups. Athletes like Eliud Kipchoge use this workout and he is known for doing 25-30 repeats of one minute fast/ one minute easy. A lot of the time he will average up to 12 miles during that hour of fartlek running. The most commonly used version of this workout for most runners is 20 repeats of one minute fast/ one minute easy. Although if you have never done this before I would recommend doing 10-15 repeats of  this. If you are a high mileage runner I feel you can do 20-30 repeats of this workout once you get used to it. It can be implemented into a training program for the 5k all the way up to the marathon. This will be a great workout both physically and mentally. 

The first time you do this workout do not worry about how fast you do the recovery jog. However, the more you do this workout try to run the recovery jog a little quicker each time. The goal should be eventually to get the recovery jog down to your normal training pace on your recovery runs. When I am able to do 25-30 repeats of this workout and average marathon pace then I know I am really fit and ready to go! So next time you have a scheduled workout on the  schedule give this workout a try and I promise you will get a great workout in!

Versions I typically do:
20 by min on min off
25-30 by min on min off ( Kipchoge favorite)
5-20 minute tempo/ 3 min jog/ 20 by min on min off
20 by min on min off + 20 by 30 seconds on 30 second off( Moses Mosop/Abel Kirui workout)

Any questions on this workout or if your interested in a training plan for a specific race shoot me a message at . Thanks for ready and happy training!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Year in Review!

End of the year Reflection

2017 was a challenging year for me running wise. I had a lot of setbacks and obstacles that I had to overcome. I was having persistent heel pain from a Haglund’s deformity and insertional Achilles tendonitis pain from December 2016-May 2017. This injury caused me to miss 45 days of training during this time period. It was a constant struggle and nothing seemed to be working. The first doctor I went to told me it was the largest bone spur he has ever seen and that  I needed surgery to fix it. I wanted nothing to do with this as haglunds surgery can be a long recovery process and some people claim the achilles is never the same after that. I then went to  Michaud chiropractic in Newton as they specialize in running injuries. After a few months of going there they found weaknesses in my big toe and calf which  was causing the swelling and pain in the heel. So after two months of visits I was finally able to start running consistently again. It was at this time I decided to run the New York City Marathon.  I ended up placing 67th at NYC , which was not the time I was looking for but I was just grateful  to be healthy! Last winter I was not sure if I would ever be running competitively again at a major marathon so this was a gigantic victory for me.  This past year showed me that we should be grateful for every race we compete in and to not take them for granted. Even a bad race day is better then no race at all  so cherish all those races that you take part in!  I ended up running 4, 125 miles for the year which was a bit down from the past few years but it was my 7th straight year over 4,000 miles. 

As I look on to 2018 I have set some goals already. The first is to try to stay healthy and stay on top of my heel issue. As this is an injury that will flare up from time to time so I have to stay on  it and not skip the little things in the treatment plan of it. My main goal as of now is to have a strong showing at the Boston Marathon. I missed this race last year of injury and I really want to take a crack at a sub 230 again. My pr is 2:29:18 and my last few marathons have been in the 2:33-2:35 range so I would love to try to crack that 2:30 barrier one more time. I want to give the marathon one more good shot before I look for that new challenge! After Boston I have a goal of moving up to the ultra marathon distance during the summer or the fall . I have always had the desire to run an ultra and I feel like as I get older and find it harder to PR at the marathon distance that I want to test myself with a new challenge. 

Outside of my own running I have a goal of building my own coaching business. I currently coach a dozen athletes online but I would love to take this business to the next level. Coaching has brought me so much joy as seeing an athlete PR brings me so much joy. Running is such a big part of my life and making a career out of it would be a dream come true for me.  It would also be my way of giving back to the running community which has given me so much!

So if you have ever though of taking your running to the next level shoot me a message and I would love to help you achieve your goals! Good luck to everyone in 2018 as I hope you all achieve your running goals. 

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!
Coach Brendon

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Benefits of Having a Running Coach!

Benefits of a Running Coach

There are many training programs online for runners to follow. Programs like couch to 5k, 16 week half marathon, and full marathon training programs that are free for all to use. There are a ton of programs out there that any athlete could follow. So you may be thinking why should I hire a personal coach if I can just follow a program for free online. There are many answers to this question that I will answer below.  I feel a personal coach is a sound investment for runners of all abilities whether you are a beginner just getting in shape or an advanced marathon runner.

  1. Personalization-  A coach will design a plan that will fit you best. Every athlete is different as some athletes can handle higher mileage while others can not. Some athletes recover more slowly than others, therefore they may need more recovery days in between hard efforts. A personalized plan will also be designed to fit your schedule as our family, work, and daily lives can be very crazy sometimes. A coach will adjust the training program to fit your lifestyle!
  2. Motivation: A coach will be able to give you encouragement in your daily training. Some days will be a struggle so having a coach to give you encouragement and hold you accountable is one of the keys to reaching your goals!
  3. 2nd Set of Eyes: Sometimes you just need someone else to take a look at your training as they may pick up on an area you need to work on. A coach will also be able to push you when you need it and have you ease up if  you are overtraining/sick. Distance runners can be very competitive and we have a tendency to over train so having a second set of eyes to oversee the training will prevent this from happening. 
  4. Let someone else do the hard work: Coming up with a good training program can be very time consuming and stressful. If you have someone else do it for you then you can focus on your training/racing more. And let’s face it that is the fun part! 
  5. Staying on top of the little things: A good running coach will make sure you are doing the little things that we tend to skip. Things like stretching, foam rolling,  strength work,and core work done regularly will help keep  you healthy!
  6. Strategy/ Race Goals/ Mental Game: A personal coach will also help you come up with race strategies. Having someone else do the hard work of coming up with the race strategy will allow you the runner to just focus on your training and not stressing about the little things. Having a coach help set a tough but attainable goal is also a benefit of a good coach/athlete relationship.

Those are just a few of the benefits of hiring a personal running coach. Running is an important part of our daily lives that we enjoy doing. We don’t realize how much we miss it until we get hurt, sick, or life gets in the way. So why not make the most of it and hire an expert that will help you stay healthy and do the thing that you love to do!  I believe it is an investment that will pay off and you will not regret it!

If you have an questions or want to explore this option I would love to hear from you! Even if you have never run before and just want to get in basic shape  message me as we can design a program that will motivate you to succeed!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Recap of New York City Marathon 2017 (2:35:27 67th overall)

After thinking about this race for the last twenty four hours I am still in awe of the experience I had. Even though I was short of my goal time I am very pleased with the performance as I went through a lot of adversity during this race. Sometimes in running and life we have days that are a struggle but it is important that we hang tough on those days. If every race went according to plan then racing would be easy! I learned a lot about myself yesterday and I know I grew as a runner and more importantly as a person.

First of all I want to thank the New York Road Runners for the sub elite program that I participated in. They go above and beyond to treat the sub elites like pros and the experience is unforgettable. It starts with a police escort to Staten Island where we are kept warm at the the indoor track. We are sharing the track facilities with the pro runners. There I was sitting in the infield next to the likes of Meb, Abdi, Wilson Kipsang, and Shalane Flanagan. Then after the race we get escorted to the V.I.P. tent which again we are sharing with the pros. These are memories that I will never forget so for that I am very thankful to the New York Road Runners for this program. 

Here is a brief recap of  my race. It was a windy, drizzly, and humid day which made for some tough conditions. I really struggled with the humidity and headwind as I found I had trouble breathing. I was getting congested and was never able to get into a comfort zone. Through 8 miles I was still running an okay race as I was on pace running low 5:40’s. However, I did not feel good and at that time I started getting lightheaded and dizzy. This scared the hell out of me as I was not sure if I was going to end up in a medical tent. At that time, I made the decision to ease of the pace and focused on hydration and trying to stay relaxed. My pace started slipping into the 5:50’s but I was okay with that as I stopped looking at splits and just ran by feel the rest of the race. From Mile 8-18 it was a struggle as I battled a lot of negative thoughts in my head. I was saying things like, “ I don’t want to run marathons anymore, as it’s time to move to ultra’s”. I also thought about dropping out but I knew my uncle was waiting for me at mile 17 and I told myself, " I have to get to First Ave as he came all the way to New York to see me".  I was also getting really worried about my heel as I could feel it with almost every step especially on the cement bridges and grooved pavement. So as you can tell my mind was drifting all over the place. I just tried taking it one step at a time and before I knew it I was at mile 17 and passed my uncle which gave me a boost! I started going by some other runners at this point and when I saw the clock at mile 20 I realized I still could run a decent time. So for the first time since mile 8 I started to get that competitive fire again. I started passing a few runners and was feeling decent until the mile 23 uphill on Fifth Ave heading to Central Park. My quads started cramping on me but at this stage I knew I was almost there. The last two miles through Central Park I was attacking the downhill's as  it helped my quads loosen up.  I closed pretty well and ended up running 2:35:27. It was my slowest New York time yet but I was very happy with it since it did not come easy.  

 I just want to share one piece of advice I learned from this race. I think we should listen to our bodies more and not run by the watch all the time. This is especially true on days that are struggle. If I was looking at every mile split during the race I think I may have given up totally and I would not have been able to put together a solid race. When you’re having a great day looking at splits is fine as it can be encouraging but on other days I think you may be better off not focusing on every mile split.

 I am extremely proud of this performance as I don’t think I have ever faced this much adversity in a race before. I was just happy to be out there running after last spring’s injury as sometimes just doing the thing we love is more important then if we hit our goal time or not. So when the going gets tough during a race hang in there and just take it one step at time and be grateful that you are doing the thing  you love to do!

Thanks for reading this blog and thanks to everyone who supported me during this training cycle!

Workout of the Month!

Tempo/ Hill Combo Most runners at some point have done a tempo run or hill workout before as they are common workouts. However, not ma...