Training Case Studies
Each training plan, each running goal, each individual is different and as such, each one of them needs to be treated on an individual basis. Even though certain training philosophies may almost always apply, a coach needs to always be open so it can adjust to each situation in order to obtain the best results. Here are a few of the challenges I’ve faced as a running coach.
10 Weeks to a first marathon
Yolmer G (42), was fit runner who just came from a 1:42 PR in a half marathon two weeks prior to our meeting. He had been running for 5 years and always wanted to test himself in the marathon He was determined to run the Miami Marathon, which would take place 10 weeks after our original conversation. I agreed to coach him if he agreed there were to be no speed work involved and the only goal was finishing the race injury-free. Finishing time could not be a parameter to consider.
Given the singularity of this challenge, there was no time to work on building up the aerobic system with heart-rate training, as I like and prescribe to my athletes; nor there was time to build speed. The main goal was to build the athlete from 13.1 to 26.2 safely in the small amount of time we had. So, we worked taxing his body to build up endurance while also allowing it to fully recover from the new work load so we would avoid overtraining. We also had to develop a fueling and hydration strategy, which were new concepts for this athlete.
On race day, Yolmer completed his marathon in 4:16:31. Yes, he had to walk a bit towards the last few miles and experienced some minor leg cramping. But he finished, and he did so with a smile, injury-free, having enjoyed the experience and wondering what he can accomplish if he goes through a full training schedule.
Back to the 2-hour half
Both Saari C and Melissa W were new employees at a company who traditionally put a solid team for the Mercedes Benz Corporate Run year after year. Though no coach potatoes, neither of them had ever ran beyond the mile required in high school in order to pass their PE class. They both wanted to participate in the race and not embarrass themselves.
A 9-week run-walk-run plan was developed by Foultips Running. It required three days of work per week with a fourth optional one should they craved extra work. It started with a 20-minute session which was mostly walking, on week one, and ended in a 40-minute session with very few walk breaks on the week prior to the race.
Both ladies followed up their programs diligently and always came back asking for additional mileage and drills as they started becoming stronger. On race day, they both ran the 5K straight, with no walking breaks. Their times of 39 and 41 minutes was beyond anyone’s expectation.