Pick up your Cadence by Coach Carmen
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Pick up your Cadence with Coach Carmen
By Coach Carmen Kitts
How often do you pay attention to your running cadence? Running cadence is the number of times your feet touch the ground in one minute of running.
You can measure your own stride rate by counting the number of times your right or left foot touches the ground in one minute, then multiply this number by two. Do this check about three times to determine your average stride rate. A good goal is about 180 foot strikes per minute.
Many runners are able to maintain the same cadence regardless of the pace or distance of an event. The stride adjustments they make result in the same quick turnover with a slightly longer stride resulting in a faster pace.
Improving your cadence will make you a more efficient and smoother runner, which means you'll be able to run faster and longer during a race or workout. However, consciously trying to change your stride rate can lead to injuries. This is because a common mistake many runners make is to over-stride. This is when your foot falls too far in front of your center of gravity, which can decrease your momentum and cause injury.
Stride adjustments in order to run faster seem to be automatic but can be improved
by running hills. Hills increase the muscle strength in our legs and improve our running technique.
Additionally, the strides we do after our warm-ups and always before a race are an excellent way to improve running form and cadence.
Finally, you can improve your cadence by practicing landing softly on your feet and taking smaller "baby" steps. Keep running hills and strides and you'll soon be running more efficiently and faster.
Get to Know F4 Athlete Christy Boutell
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Get to Know F4 Athlete Christy Boutell
I'm 68 years young. I feel about 35. I'm a Mom, a Grand Mom and would not ever have considered myself as having an athletic background at all growing up.
But now that I have lived in Colorado for the past 10 years and am lucky enough to be in F4; I guess one could say I am an athlete - albeit in earnest a somewhat slow steady one.
2. How did you discover FastForward?
Tim Leddy (another Fast Forward member and former colleague at Level 3) nudged a group of us recent transferees to CO to train for the Bolder Boulder one Spring about 9 years ago. He would leave notes on our desks and kept asking us if we had signed up yet. So I went to an orientation - and got to listen to Scott Fliegelman address a room packed with interested runners. I was so intimidated by the fitness level of all those around me that I was in the process of sneaking out, but in the hallway I got to meet Scott and listen to him encouraging some other attendees about the spring session ahead. I was impressed by his approach and genuine enthusiasm to beginning folks like me. After that BB season I heard that Scott was starting Fast Forward and I immediately asked to join and participate in their first running training season. The rest as they say is serendipity. I think I have signed up and run every F4 season since.
In a nutshell - The year I turned 59 I had never even run a 10K. During the 1st year after joining F4 - I completed my 1st half marathon and was hooked on slow and steady running as my way of trying to stay young, in my case a relative term...
3. What are some of your favorite things about training with F4?
One favorite would definitely be the Winter program culminating with the Canyonlands 1/2 Marathon in Moab in March. I just completed my 9th Canyonlands 1/2 this past month.
A special advantage to being part of the F4 extended family is that Scott has in the past selected and managed logistics for F4’s participation in multiple events. So along with other F4 athletes he made it possible for me to run my 1st marathon in Chicago, followed by F4 participation the following years in Portland, DC’s Marine Corp. and Denver Marathons among others. I have now completed more than 25 Halfs, and 6 Fulls. And as long as F4 runs I will be there somewhere in the pack (not nearly up front but somewhere in there for sure).
The third and probably the MOST IMPORTANT thing I like about F4 is that all I have to do is just show up. Scott with the help and guidance of his Coaches make the rest kind of take care of itself. So if I just get there - I'll be better for it.
4. What events are you training for this year?
I'm training mostly to do Halfs again this year and maybe one Full in the fall at (hopefully at sea level and close to my kids). I ‘m also training to do the Mount Evan's Ascent again this June.
Here is a picture of one of the super best highlight days of my life in F4 and as a Mom! It was taken at the Marine Corp Marathon which I ran with F4 and that year also included my daughter Heather from Wisconsin (an F4 remote program runner) and my daughter Sarah from Connecticut who ran the 10 mile and then took photos of F4 folks at the finish. It was a totally amazing day - to be sharing that accomplishment with both my daughters together. Without Fast Forward that day would never have happened.
Get to Know F4 Denver Coach Toni
Get to Know F4 Denver Coach Toni
Coach Toni Taddonio Gives Back in Many Ways
Coach Toni has a heart of gold. She is always looking for ways to give back to great causes. And that’s how she originally connected with FastForward Sports.
“I began coaching with F4 after meeting with the Denver group to try to raise money for Denver CASA, which provides help for victims of child abuse,” says Toni. “I loved FastForward so much that, after a while, I asked Brian Klink, the head coach of the Denver group at that time, what it takes to coach. He said he thought I already had it and I joined the coaching team.” Toni became an F4 coach in 2007.
An avid runner over the years, Toni has finished numerous 5Ks and 10Ks, 15 half-marathons and five full marathons. She discovered the sport of triathlon in 2006 and since then has competed in numerous sprint- and Olympic-distance races, along with four half-Ironmans and one full Ironman. In June, Toni and her husband, Chad, had to Kona for a half-Ironman, Chad’s first!
This season, Toni is excited to be heading up the partnership between the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Denver and FastForward Sports. Team RMHC is F4’s official charity and helps families of seriously ill or injured children when they must be away from home to seek medical treatment for their children. Their upcoming events are The Cherry Creek Sneak and the Bolder Boulder.
When it comes to coaching, Toni’s philosophy is this: You should always have fun. “When you stop enjoying what you are doing, it’s time to re-set the plan,” she says. “You can always do more than you think you can. Believe in yourself and your ability and remember to smile!” Wise words to live by.
Coach Garry’s Essential Taper Workout for 5K Masters-aged PR
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Coach Garry's Essential
Taper Workout for 5K Masters-aged PR
Essential Taper Workout for 5K Masters-aged PR
By Coach Garry Roseman
Last weekend, the family and I went to Carlsbad, California for the perfect combination of “family vacation” and an attempt at a “masters-aged personal record.” We had all the appropriate ingredients:
1. We picked the right race: The “World’s Fastest 5K” aka The Carlsbad 5K
2. We had trained hard with appropriate speed work for the race distance (thanks to F4 FAST team and coach Scott)
3. We had excellent race weather, thanks Southern California
4. We enjoyed ourselves—how could we not, we were:
o Staying at one of the San Diego area’s premier resorts (La Costa in Carlsbad), thanks Coach Steve Walker
o Enjoying time with our 2- and 4-year-olds (as well as my wife and mother-in-law) at Sea World/Carlsbad kids race/Legoland/the Southern California Beaches/La Costa Pool — all on non-marathon legs. Gotta love traveling for a 5K!
So what was the essential taper workout for this race? A 1x “all-out” run to the car in the economy lot at DIA and back. Seriously. Let me share:
Friday morning ~8:30am flight, means we should get to DIA by ~7:00 a.m. if you are traveling with small children. In true Roseman fashion we pull up to curbside check at ~7:15 a.m. My wife Mary takes the bags and the kids, then I drive to park at our favorite spot in the economy lot, U/V pole #2, and quickly walk/jog back to the area right before the security line where Mary is waiting with the boys. When Mary goes to pull my driver’s license out for me, we discover it’s NOT THERE.
After a very brief chat with security that went something like this:
Me “Any chance you are going to let me through?”
Mary “You better run fast.”
I was off! I didn’t have my GPS or watch on, but I did have on my running shoes and travel/running pants so I was off FAST! I was running close to race pace, which turned out to be ~5:21 per mile. Adrenaline flowing, fear of sending the wife on the flight with both boys and the luggage, as well as thoughts of missing the boys’ first trip to Sea World were excellent motivators!
Full speed all the way to the mini-van, and the lactic acid was building up even more intensely than the last couple track workouts we had done. But those same workouts had me ready. I hit the clicker, opened the door to the van, grabbed the license off the passenger seat and barely broke stride! Then I ran back to the main terminal full speed ahead.
Sweat dripping off my forehead, barely able to speak (definitely zone 4+), I went straight to TSA and had a brief (fortunately) conversation:
Me: “Wife and kids… huh/huh/huh/huh… already through security... huh/huh/huh… boarding now… huh/huh/huh… I had to run…. huh/huh/huh…. to get license left in car… huh/huh/huh…in economy lot… huuuuuuuuuh… any chance?”
TSA Almost smiling, stamps my ticket and says, “Good luck!”
I talked my way to the front of the x-ray line with many “thanks” and was on the next train. As I ran (yes, I was STILL running) through terminal A, I actually passed Mary and the boys who were moving slow due to the load I left them with. I picked up Parker, took one bag and we essentially walk/jogged our “cool-down” right onto the plane. Crisis averted and essential workout accomplished.
Master’s PR = 16:37. A 5:21 pace per mile, two days of active recovery later!
Face Challenge as the Best Version of Yourself by coach Scott Gurst
Monday, April 08, 2013
Face Challenge as the Best Version of Yourself by F4 Coach Scott Gurst
Face Challenge as the Best Version of Yourself
By Coach Scott Gurst
Humans seek out challenge. It’s part of our nature. We see a mountain, we want to climb it. We see a river, we want to raft it. We see a rock face, we want to scale it. We see an ocean, we want to cross it. We see the moon, we want to build a spaceship and fly to it. But challenge comes with risks. Challenges against nature, such as climbing mountains, scaling sheer rock faces, crossing oceans, and going to the moon can be life or death experiences, and most of us are not comfortable with that level of risk.
So we create artificial challenges for ourselves. We paint a line on the ground, and paint another one 3.1, 6.2, 13.1 or 26.2 miles away. Then we train for months and spend a large part of our free time and disposable income preparing for the day when we will try to run as fast as we can along a prescribed route from one line to the other. The distance and route are somewhat arbitrary, the location of the start line and finish line are somewhat arbitrary, and the amount of time we are trying to beat is arbitrary, but we certainly treat them with a great deal of importance.
From an outside perspective, it would seem silly to spend so much time and energy just to run as fast as you can from one arbitrary line to another. If the goal is to get from start to finish in the shortest period of time, why not just call a cab? After all, it’s not like we’re hunting down food on foot like our caveman ancestors. So why do we spend so much time and energy training for and running races?
Somewhere in the back of our minds, we each carry a vision of the best version of ourselves. Given a few minutes, you could probably write down a list of 20 adjectives that describe the ideal version of you, the kind of person you aspire to be: strong, confident, brave, resilient, calm, grateful, supportive, tenacious, honest, consistent, positive, etc. These words represent the values that are important to us, the values that we try to live by at all times.
But as much as we aspire to live by these values at all times, we don’t always act in accordance with our ideal selves. We’re human. We fall off the wagon. At times, despite our best intentions, we act petty, spiteful, weak, selfish, negative and cowardly. When things are going well, it’s easy to be a good person and act in accordance with your values. But in times of stress and challenge, when the going gets tough, it gets a lot harder to continue to act like the best versions of ourselves. And life certainly has its share of stress and challenge.
Whereas life can be difficult at times, racing is relatively simple. The task is clear, the goals are clear and the actions we need to take are simple. Within this simple and controlled environment we can test ourselves to see if we have the ability to push our limits and stay true to our core values while doing it.
The truth is that we do not race to find out how fast we are. We race to find out what kind of people we are. But in order for us to find out, the level of challenge must be significant enough to push us out of our comfort zone. Getting out of your comfort zone gives you a chance to see how you really measure up against that ideal version of yourself, and answer those nagging questions. Am I really strong? Am I really brave? Am I really confident, consistent, positive, resilient, and grateful?
If we are paying attention, pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone allows us to learn, to grow, and to improve ourselves, and not just physically. Indeed, we may get slightly faster from training and racing, but the real gains come from learning how to face challenge as the best version of ourselves.
So next time you are out for a challenging workout or in a difficult spot during a race, don’t ask yourself how fast you want to go. Ask yourself, “What kind of person do I want to be right now?’ Because that is most likely the real reason that you are there.