Sunday, November 27, 2011

Spring 10K/10-Miler Group Training Program Registration OPEN!

Sign up now for the Run Farther & Faster Spring 10K/10-Miler Group Training Program, coached by two experienced Road Runner Clubs of America (RRCA) certified coaches and top-ranked, accomplished runners. We pride ourselves on individualized attention- our number one motivation is helping runners of ALL levels run farther, faster while having a great time and learning to love running!

The third year of our popular 10K/10-miler training program starts on Sunday, February 5 and targets the Cherry Blossom 10-miler on April 1 and the beginner-friendly Pike’s Peek 10K on April 29, 2012. This program is for runners of all levels- beginners who are able to run two miles (no pace requirement) will work towards building endurance for the Pike’s Peek 10K, a net-downhill course down Rockville Pike, beginning at the Shady Grove Metro and ending at White Flint Mall. More advanced runners will train for the Cherry Blossom 10-miler. Beginner runners are encouraged to run the Cherry Blossom 5K Run/Walk. NOTE: Registration for Cherry Blossom 10-miler AND 5K is through LOTTERY selection; runners must enter the lottery between December 1 and December 9 and lottery winners will be announced on December 13. Click here for more information. If you can’t run the two miles required to start the program, contact us and we can help you build up to the necessary base mileage over the next few months!

Programs are tailored to individual levels of fitness and goals, and coaches work with runners to help them achieve their personal goals. Runners of all ages are welcome, and this comprehensive program includes:

• Complete 13-week training calendar, including guidance on cross-training, strength training , stretching and race-day preparation;
• Weekly group runs on Sunday mornings in the Rockville/Bethesda area;
• Discounted entry to the Pike’s Peek 10K;
• Speakers on various running-related topics;
• Technical running shirt;
• Discounts on gear from, and
• Support and encouragement from experienced coaches who are also accomplished, ranked runners

Cost for the 13-week program is $100 (does not include race registration) or recruit a friend who has not taken one of our previous programs and take advantage of the Buddy Program, $180 for both of you ($10 savings each). Registration is available at (select “Spring 10K/10 Miler Program” from drop-down menu).

**Register early, as spaces are limited to maintain personalized attention. Our Fall 5K/15K program closed early so don't miss out on this program!**

Contact Lisa Reichmann ( and Julie Sapper ( for more information.

Here is what past participants have to say about our training programs!

"Thank you Julie and Lisa for all the support. Indeed you have gone above and beyond my expectations during the course of this journey." --Max, Gaithersburg, MD

“With Julie and Lisa's expert advice and relentless support and guidance combined with the camaraderie of a solid team of other runners, I was able to successfully complete my first half marathon.” – Jessy, Boyds, MD

“Julie and Lisa are amazingly supportive and encouraging to all participants and truly want their students to succeed. With their guidance and encouragement, I've run in two 5K races and even placed 1st in my age group in one of them.” – Ariel, Potomac, MD

“Julie and Lisa helped create a realistic training program that helped me not only achieve my goal, but BEAT my goal. Julie and Lisa really believed in me and in turn I believed in myself. The smiles and excitement are genuine and that is what makes them great coaches.” – Caryn, Bethesda, MD

“With only slight exaggeration, I can say that Run Farther and Faster saved my life. After participating in several Run Farther & Faster programs, I am healthier than ever as a result of the expert advice I receive from Lisa and Julie, two world class athletes who really understand the dynamics and strategy of running. This isn't some program sponsored by an apparel store in an attempt to get you to buy more merchandise -- Lisa and Julie actually enjoy training other runners, whether beginners or advanced runners of all different ages.” -Eric, Rockville, MD

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ready, Set, Go!

You’ve put in months of hard work and dedication, consistently sticking to a sound training program, and now your target 5K or 10K is just around the corner. Assuming you have trained properly, success on race day now depends on proper preparation and execution. Make sure you set yourself up for your best race possible by following these tips:

One week before the race:

The week before the race, focus on your sleep and hydration/nutrition. While the amount of sleep needed to be truly rested is very individual, aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. If you are getting good quality sleep on a regular basis in the week(s) leading up to your race, it won’t matter as much if you don’t get a great night’s sleep the night before the race, which may happen due to nerves.

Keep a water bottle with you and make sure you are drinking enough to stay well-hydrated. Our favorite tip on good hydration is making sure your urine is “clear and copious;” in other words, you are going to the bathroom frequently and the color of your urine is pale. Also aim to eat more whole foods in your diet- fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other unprocessed foods. These foods will provide you with longer lasting energy and will fill your glycogen stores (your “fuel tank”) for optimal performance. Avoid, as much as possible, sugar, processed foods and alcohol, which will just give you an energy spike followed by a quick crash.

If you strength train, which we encourage, avoid weight training the week prior to the rest. This will further ensure that your legs are rested and recovered at the start line.

If you have not already done so, in the week or two before the race make sure to review all of the race details, including the race course/elevation profile, packet pick-up, race logistics (including parking, gear check, water stops), and the other information typically available on the race website. Don’t be caught off guard on race morning- start planning at least a week in advance!

Day before the race:

Continue to pay attention to your hydration, and plan to eat your last large meal about 12 hours before the race. Make sure that meal includes a higher percentage of complex carbohydrates- if you have been eating properly in the days leading up to the race there is no need to OVERload on the carbs. Instead, just focus on the percentage of carbohydrates and on eating whole foods that will provide you with longer lasting energy. Try and rest your legs as much as possible. Avoid extended periods of walking, if at all possible.

Race Morning:

Eat a light breakfast high in complex carbohydrates 1-3 hours before the start of the race. Eat something that you know will not upset your stomach and that, ideally, you’ve eaten before during training. Suggestions include whole wheat toast with peanut butter, cereal, or steel cut oatmeal with bananas or berries. Avoid too much protein as it can lead to stomach upset, and avoid simple sugars that will lead to a spike in your blood glucose levels and then a rapid drop, leaving you with an energy crash at the start of the race. Drink 2-3 glasses of water with your breakfast. Stop eating 1 hour prior to the race to allow your body to digest before running, and drink 6-8 oz of water 10-30 minutes before the start.

Plan to arrive at the race no later than an hour beforehand; for some larger races, you may need to be there even earlier. Give yourself plenty of time- it takes longer than you think to get parked, use the porta-potties, warm-up, etc.

For a 5K or 10K, warm up for at least 5-10 minutes before you get into your corral with some easy running, followed by a few stride-outs. If the weather is colder, take a little more time to warm-up to ensure that your muscles are nice and warm before the start.


Make sure you’ve “seeded” yourself appropriately at the start line. Faster (5-6 minutes/mile) runners should be at the front towards the start line, and slower runners/walkers towards the back. Some larger races have pace signs so you know where you should start, but if there are no signs, just use common sense to start in approximately the right area. If you do not, you risk going out too fast or getting stuck behind much slower runners. If the race is chip timed, you don’t have to worry about how long it takes you to cross the start line because your time will not start until you get to the front.

At the start of a large race, expect to be in a crowd for the first mile (or more!) Don’t weave around runners in front of you, which will waste energy. Find the path of least resistance and run in as straight a line as possible.

Don’t go out too fast! If you feel like you are going too slow (and you may feel this way before the crowds thin out), you are probably running at an appropriate pace. Plan to run a few seconds slower than your projected pace, then ease into your race pace gradually. If you feel strong the last 1/3 of the race, you can push the pace towards the finish line.

Drink at the water stations, especially during races longer than 5K. The amount of time it takes to grab some water is negligible and significantly helps your performance. Even 2% dehydration can lead to a decrease in performance, and once you feel thirsty you are well past this point, so even in cold weather make sure to take water along the course. Grab the paper cup from the volunteer, pinch it to form a spout, and drink it through the corner of your mouth. Even a small swig will be helpful. You can slow down through the water stations, but if you do (or if you stop), move to the right so other runners don’t bump into you from behind.


SMILE as you approach the finish line- there are often photographers there to capture your achievement and you will be able to look up the pictures by your bib number (another reason to have your bib visible on the front of your clothing) after the race.

Continue walking after you pass the finish line- do NOT stop immediately because (1) you don’t want finishers behind you to collide with you, and (2) the blood that went to your vital organs during the run needs time to return to your extremities.

Make sure to grab some water and, within 30 minutes or so, a protein/complex carbohydrate snack. Lowfat chocolate milk is the ideal recovery “meal” with the proper ratio of carbs to protein (4:1), but any snack with protein and carbs will help repair the micro-tears in muscles and restock your glycogen stores.

Stretch and, if possible, get into an ice bath when you get home to help reduce any inflammation.
Take at least two rest days (active rest, i.e., walking or swimming) after the race before slowly resuming running to the level where you were before the race (reverse taper).

Be PROUD of your accomplishment, and set a new goal for yourself!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Virtual Coaching

Our virtual coaching programs are perfect for youth and adult runners who prefer to run on their own instead of a formal group program, or for runners who do not live in the Metropolitan DC area. Virtual coaching is individualized to your specific background, experience, goals and schedule and includes:
  • Initial in-person or phone session, typically lasting about an hour, during which we will review your background and goals and go over some basic running fundamentals including injury prevention, form, nutrition, running gear and selection of a goal race;

  • Comprehensive training plan/calendar designed to fit your schedule and based on the principles of progressive overload and including strength and cross-training. Depending on your experience and goals, the plan may include speed and hill work, tune-up races, and other workouts aimed at helping you achieve your goals;

  • Information on strength training, stretching and nutrition to compliment your running and aid in injury prevention;

  • Weekly check-ins via phone or email to monitor and encourage progress, reevaluate the training plan, adjust the workouts, answer questions, etc.;

  • Availability by phone and email to discuss any questions, concerns or issues that arise during your training;
  • Race preparation, including pacing and nutrition strategy;
  • Discounts for selected online running gear retailers and local races; and

  • For local clients, the option of joining our group training programs for their weekly training runs.
Fees for virtual coaching are:
  • $100 for the first month

  • $90 for subsequent months
Please contact us for more information and to find out more about how virtual coaching can help you reach your running goals in 2012 and beyond!

Monday, October 3, 2011

6-Week Friday Morning Beginner Running Program

Take some time out of your busy life and focus on accomplishing a goal of your own! We're excited to be offering a 6-session Beginner 5K training program starting Friday, Octber 28, with group runs meeting at 9:45 a.m. at B'nai Israel in Rockville.

This program is designed to help you learn to love running. ALL levels welcome and strollers welcome!

Program details:
• Comprehensive training calendar
• Weekly coached group runs (Fridays 9:45-10:45 a.m. from B’nai Israel)
• Information on running-related topics such as stretching, strength and injury prevention
• Guidance and encouragement from certified, accomplished coaches

Cost for the 6-session program is $50/person. Program begins on Friday, October 28th and ends on Friday, December 9th (no group run November 25).

Register by selecting "B'nai Israel Friday 5K" from pull-down menu in right hand sidebar!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Runner Profile: Yaniv

One of the rewards of coaching is meeting inspiring athletes who come from all backgrounds and run for different reasons- some are former high school athletes looking to reclaim the "high" of competing, others are busy parents carving out some time for themselves. All remind us of the rewards of running and being active, but Yaniv is one athlete in particular that proves with dedication, determination and perserverence, even the seemingly "impossible" is possible.

Age: 38

When I started running: April 2011.

How I got started: In 2010 I had decided to have some kind of weight-loss surgery. By January 2011, I was officially denied surgery by my insurance company and was pretty devastated. I weighed 368 lbs. and had difficulty doing any kind of physical activity. I once tried to teach my girls how to ride their bikes but I couldn't keep up running by their side to guide them. I was out of breath just running a very short distance. I thought that surgery was my only option.

I had enough of living like this and I wasn't going to let the insurance company decide my fate. I took matters into my own hands and began to eat right with a low calorie diet. Surprisingly to me, the weight came off pretty quickly. After a month or so, I was able to start exercising as well. I went to the gym and walked on the treadmill. I also started taking long walks during my lunch hour.

My wife and Lisa encouraged me to join a training program for beginners, targeting a 5K race. I was a little intimidated by the notion that I could actually eventually run a 5k but it seemed intriguing so I gave it a try. The training program was an excellent introduction to the wonderful world of running. I am currently down to 248 lbs. and am still going strong.

Why I run: I run for many reasons. I run for health. I run to lose weight. I run because it's something that I thought I could never do. I run for the challenge. I run for the sense of accomplishment. I run to be a better role model for my children. I run because I can.

Favorite local race: I've run 4 races so far so this will probably change as I do more but so far my favorite has been the Rockville Twilight 8k. It was a beautiful night and I ran it with my wife which was fun to do. It was also the first time I ran 5 miles which once seemed impossible.

How I stay motivated: I stay motivated by the reminders of why I run. The feeling I get when I'm done with my run is so great that I easily carry that over until the next run. It's also a great feeling to post my accomplishments on Facebook and have my community cheering me on and encouraging me to keep going. Of course there's the added bonus of the weight loss and fitness I get from it.

Most memorable running moment: I have now completed 4 races including a triathlon but my most memorable running moment is without a doubt the first time my 5K training group switched from walk/run intervals to a 2-mile nonstop run. I didn't even think about the possibility of completing it without stopping. I had already planned my break points in advance. When the run started, something in me decided to just keep going and push through until all of a sudden it was over. I had done the impossible. I actually ran for 30 minutes without stopping. It felt amazing. Afterward, I sat in my car and started to cry with disbelief. I was so proud of myself and couldn't contain my emotions. I think about that day often.

Future goals/race plans: My future goals are to continue with this lifestyle and to keep building on it. My goals for 2012 are to complete a couple of marathons, an Olympic triathlon, and a century (a 100 mile bike ride.) I have 5 more races in 2011 scheduled including the Kentlands 5k, the Point of Rocks 10k, the Rockville 10k in November, the Hot Chocolate 15k, and the Rehoboth Beach Half Marathon on December 15. I have also registered for the 2012 Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Washington DC in March.

Advice for new runners: My first bit of advice is to say "YOU CAN DO IT!" Running seems like something that only thin people that have been doing it since their youth could do. I'm here to tell you that you can be a runner too. Trust me, I went from not being able to run for more than 30 seconds to completing a triathlon in 4 months. It's not only that I didn't put out the effort, I honestly didn't think it was possible. I couldn't even imagine being able to run for 5 minutes nonstop let alone an hour.

Another bit of advice (that I sometimes forget as well) is that your speed is not important in the beginning. I was and still am self-conscience about my slow speed. There is so much emphasis on winning races, and being fast that it might get discouraging for us slow pokes. Your speed and endurance will increase with time. I started at a 15+ minute/mile and now am at an 11+ min./mile. Even if you come in last place, you're still way ahead of the person that never got in the race.

Yaniv in August, 2010 and August, 2011- What a difference a year makes!

Yaniv and two of his daughters after his first 5K in June 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cadence Drill

One of our favorite exercises to gauge running form is a cadence drill. Physical Therapist and runner Rachel Miller introduced us to the importance of cadence (Rachel conducts running stride clinics which we highly recommend for all runners), and we go over this exercise with all of our runners.

Running cadence is also referred to as stride rate, and is the number of steps you take per minute when running. Based on studies of elite runners, ideal cadence is 180-190 steps per minute (or about 3 steps per second). We know, you’re thinking “but I’m not an elite runner.” However, this number is helpful for beginner runners, as well, as you increase your cadence, your body will naturally fall towards proper running form. A faster turnover forces a shorter stride, so that feet stay underneath the body as opposed to the overreaching stride (loping) common with slower cadence. With a slower cadence, you are wasting more energy vertically by “bounding” where more energy should go towards horizontal momentum. This over striding leads to landing on your heels (heel striking) which sends shock waves up your legs and can lead to all types of injuries. By concentrating on a higher cadence, you should tend to shorten your stride, stay light on your feet, low to the ground and in an upright position (leaning too far forward reduces your legs’ freedom of motion and slows cadence).

To determine your current cadence, and work on gradually increasing your turnover, try this exercise next time you are out for one of your workouts:

Choose a smooth, flat surface. After warming up and during one of the run intervals, count the number of times your right foot hits the ground in 60 seconds. If you multiply this by 2, you will have your cadence (double to account for both feet). Next, repeat the same exercise, running for 60 seconds and again counting the number of times your right foot hits the ground. This time, though, try to increase the number of right foot push-offs by 1-3 steps. Follow up with a slow recovery jog or walk before repeating the exercise again—do this two to four times total. Each time you run, try to continue increasing your push-offs by 1-3 counts until you are no longer running comfortably. At that point, back off the cadence and if you have any repeats remaining, maintain the number that allowed you to stay relaxed while still using a faster turnover.

Do this exercise one or two times a week to help your body get used to running at a higher cadence. Don’t try to get your cadence up to the ideal of 180 in one session—or even at all. It can take 1-3 months to feel comfortable at 180, but after 2-4 weeks of increasing cadence just a little bit, it should feel more natural. As with our training programs, slight gradual increases will help your body reset its running metronome at a faster beat over time!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Let the Kids Run!

Over the past few months, we've had the privilege to work with several budding runners under the age of 13, from young runners just starting to race at the 5K level, to soccer stars working on improving their 2-mile run time, to summer campers at the JCC of Greater Washington participating in the Kids Run the Nation elective. We love working with kids, as they are eager to learn and full of contagious energy! Running can help kids develop self-esteem, an increased interest in healthy habits and improve their stamina for other sports and an active life in general.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that running high mileage will damage young children. As this article explains, kids who train smart (progressive overload, plenty of rest and recovery, moderate intensity) are no more prone to injury than adults training at longer distances. As with all sports, it is important that the child (and not the parents) is the one who has the interest in and drive to pursuse running, but for kids who truly enjoy running, there is no evidence of a specific "cap" on their mileage.

Here are some general guidelines we use whenever we work with kids who love to run:

  • The emphasis should be on FUN, with lots of games and unstructured play. A centipede run (where kids run in a line, pass a baton to the back of the line, and have the last person in line sprint the baton to the front of the line, beginning the pass-back again), obstacle course or game of tag are all great ways to help kids learn pacing.

  • Utilize drills (again, fun) that teach fundamental athletic skills, such as body awareness, coordination, balance, agility and good form- we think exercises like "bang the drums," "foot fire," and "bad form/good form" are fun ways to teach kids fundamentals of form early in their running careers.

  • For kids who want to run longer distances, incorporate more slow, long runs over intense interval training.

  • Encourage kids to become well-rounded by participating in a variety of activities, which enables them to develop skills and strengths that compliment running.

  • Make sure kids are wearing proper footwear- a specialty running shoe store can help you choose the right shoe for a child's biomechanics.

  • Teach kids about healthy eating habits and the importance of food as fuel, as well as proper hydration.
Kids who love to run tend to set a great example for their peers (and adults!) and grow up to be healthy, active adults. Grab your favorite kids and go out for a run today!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

National Running Day!

Happy National Running Day! To celebrate, we are offering $15 off our Fall Half Marathon Program for today, June 1, only! Click on the "buy now" button on the right side bar and sign up for the program for just $60. Come join us and reach new goals this year!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Runner Profile: Shaina

Shaina and her family following the 2011 Pike's Peek 10K- her kids are following her inspiring example!
Name: Shaina

Age: 40

When I started running: I've been running on and off for years but picked it back up more consistantly a few years ago when my youngest child started nursery school.

Why I run: Running is my favorite exercise to do. It gives me confidence, strength and energy. I also love the "me" time.

Favorite local race: Kentlands 5K. It was my first 5k and is still my favorite.

How I stay motivated: I always like to have a scheduled race on the calendar. It gives me a goal and keeps me focused. I also joined a great website ( that keeps track of my running mileage.

Most memorable running moment: I have two. My two most memorable moments are being on the running course and seeing the finish line for the Kentlands 5K and the Pike's Peek 10K. There is nothing like spending months getting ready for a race and then approaching the finish line of that race.

Future goals/race plans: Finish every race I start. Run more 5K's and 10K's. Eventually run a half marathon.

Advice for new runners: First, invest in a good pair of sneakers. It's worth it. You don't want to be sidelined by a running injury. Second, don't compare yourself to other runners. Everyone runs at their own pace. Third, sign up for a race in the future. It gives you a goal and you may find that as soon as you finish that race, you can't wait to sign up for another one! Finally, remember that walking out the door is often the toughest part of a run.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Spirit of Boston

The following was written by Jackie Kascic, a fellow RRCA-certified coach, after finishing the Boston Marathon last week. We think it embodies the spirit of the Boston Marathon- and running in general- and reminds us that even when we're not setting a PR or having a perfect running day, it's important to remember how lucky we are to be able to get out there and run.

The Marathon

I remember the day that I qualified for the Boston Marathon – how happy my family and friends were for me. They were really probably just tired of me talking about it for so long. I qualified for Boston on my 8th marathon on a day where running seemed to come easy for me. We all have good and bad days. Never put too much emphasis on a bad run – there is always another one around the corner. When I first started running, I never thought I would run a 5-K let alone a marathon or the Boston marathon. I had little confidence in my athletic abilities. That changed slowly over time – very, very slowly. I qualified to run the Boston marathon at the Baltimore marathon – two days before registration for Boston opened. I thought – how lucky could I possibly be? Now I just had to wait until April tor run the marathon. I put myself through my usual barrage of fall torture (do as I say and not as I do) – running the NYC marathon and several other races.

I started training for Boston in January and everything was going fine – until I tweaked my IT band (the tendon that runs from your hip to your knee) a few weeks ago. It is a common running injury and not severe, but it needs time to recover which was something I didn’t have. I thought why did this happen to me now? How could this be fair? I was devastated but started aggressive physical therapy immediately. My physical therapist assured me that I would be able to run the race, but my leg would not feel completely normal. I had little confidence in the three weeks leading up to the race that I would be able to finish it. I said as little as possible every time someone asked me about the race as I had no confidence that I would be able to finish. I didn’t even make a final decision to go to Boston until Thursday before the race. This was a step forward – at least I committed to getting on the plane.

My husband and I flew to Boston on Saturday and took in some of the sites of Boston, including a Red Sox game. I went to the expo and felt a sense of panic that all of these people would finish, and I might not achieve that accomplishment. Sunday was filled with more apprehension.

Finally, Monday was here – Marathon Monday! I left my hotel room at 6:00 am to catch the bus to the little town of Hopkinton where I would sit around and wait for hours. It was great to see so many runners coming together for a common purpose. We arrived in Hopkinton before 8, and my wave wasn’t scheduled to start until 10:20. This part didn’t bother me – this is similar to the way the NYC marathon works. The girl sitting next to me seemed distraught. I tried to calm her down the best that I could. This made me feel better - it was a distraction from my own apprehension.

I got into my starting corral near start time and before I knew it – we were off! The first part of the race is downhill. My knee felt tight (not painful but tight) from the first mile. The downhill isn’t easy on the IT band. I just kept concentrating on moving forward. The miles seemed to go by slowly, and I wondered how I would ever be able to finish. I called my husband around mile 8. I am not sure what I wanted him to tell me - it is ok to quit or to keep going. He didn’t answer, and I just kept moving on. I figured it was easier to keep moving forward then to figure out how to get back to Boston J. I started listening to music at some point which I never do during marathons, but it was all I could do to keep focused. I stopped every so often (sometimes for long periods) to stretch. I was so worried about my knee tightening up.

Then the Turning Point!!! The course rolls past Wellesley College around mile 11. There are women everywhere with signs that say “Kiss Me”. I loved that part of the race – so much energy! I stopped to stretch and take some pictures before moving forward. After that, I was in the hills of Newton near the infamous “Heartbreak Hill”. The hills felt better on my leg, and I actually passed people at times (still stopping to stretch as needed). Heartbreak Hill had nothing on me – I never even knew when I really passed it until I saw a sign saying, “The Heartbreak is Over”. Once I got to mile 18, I knew I would finish if I continued to take it easy and follow my plan. I was close enough to Boston and started to think about the medal around my neck. I started high-fiving people and enjoying the energy of the crowd! A friend of mine said once you see the big Citgo sign – you are there! I saw it from a distance, but it seemed like it took a long time to pass it. The crowd support was great – lots of people everywhere!

Finally, I turned on to Boylston Street, and I could see the finish line. My husband yelled at me from the crowd, and I actually saw him! Two of my friends had made the trip to see me finish as well. They got to see all of the elites go by earlier in the day with a world famous time in the elite men’s race.

I crossed the finish line and got my medal and mylar blanket. I had tears in my eyes. I couldn’t believe what I had accomplished since my days of not being able to run a mile. It may have been my worst marathon time ever, but it felt like a big accomplishment in the face of adversity. Someday I will get back to that course and show it who is boss!

Friday, April 1, 2011

2011 Fall Half Marathon Program

Some of our 2010 Fall Half Marathon participants before 2010 Parks Half Marathon

We had such a rewarding experience with our 2010 Fall Half Marathon program, watching our runners successfully complete a number of Fall half marathons (some doing more than one!) and even go on to complete full marathons this winter and spring! We are looking forward to our second year coaching this program and welcome runners of all levels who can already run at least five miles to join us and discover the rewards (and the possibilities) that come with accomplishing something many only think about doing. Whether you've already run a half marathon (or more!) and want to continue to work on your speed in a group setting, or you've just worked up to a long run of six miles and want to take your running to the next level, we will work with you to reach your goals.

Our 2011 Fall Half Marathon program begins Sunday, June 26 with the goal of preparing runners to complete any of a number of Fall half marathons, including the Parks Half Marathon in Rockville on September 11, this 12-week program includes a comprehensive training calendar, weekly group runs on Sundays at 7:30 a.m. from various locations in Rockville, Gaithersburg, Potomac and Bethesda as well as discussions on topics such as strength training, stretching, injury prevention, nutrition and race preparation and access to experienced, knowledgeable and dedicated coaches.

The cost for the 12-week program is $85, and payment can be made online via PayPal by clicking the button below or on the right sidebar of our blog.

For runners who plan to sign up for the Parks Half Marathon, a well-organized and popular local half marathon, registration opens on Saturday, April 2 and spots may fill up fast so we encourage you to register as soon as possible on the race website at

Contact us at the email addresses on the left sidebar with any questions or for more information. To enroll, click on the "buy now" button on the right sidebar. We look forward to seeing you this summer!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Runner Profile: Eric

Eric joined our Spring 10K running program through the JCC in early 2010. After successfully completing Pike's Peek 10K in April 2010, Eric went on to participate in our Fall Half Marathon training program and finished the Parks Half Marathon in September 2010. A returning member of our 10K/10-miler program, He has continued to race at the 10K distance, significantly improving his finish times and setting numerous personal records. His wife, Vanessa, was inspired by his accomplishments and joined our City of Rockville beginner 5K program last fall, finishing the Rockville 5K in November 2010. Their twin daughters even got in on the action at the Halloween Young Run in October 2010!

Age: 34

When I started running: January 2010

Why I run: A stressful week of work caused some health issues, and my doctors suggested that more exercise could lessen the effects of my stress. So I started running and training for a 10k. Besides my desire to stay healthy, I enjoy pushing myself to run farther and faster. Lisa, Julie, and their team have provided the necessary training to avoid injury and allow me to benefit from running as a sport and a social gathering.

Favorite local race: Pike's Peek, a 10k race from the Shady Grove metro down Rt-355 to White Flint. It was my first 10k and is still my favorite -- net downhill, comfortable weather, and great after-race events.

How I stay motivated: Training with a group is certainly motivating. Every other runner in the group offered inspiration -- from our trainers who have remarkable results to the beginners who make huge strides in such a short time. Each time I sign up for a race, I am motivated to train to finish that race faster than my previous times. And finishing any race is an incredible sense of accomplishment that you can rarely achieve with other sports. There's no way to fake it and you can't rely on anyone else.

Most memorable running moment: Running through the tunnel in Bethesda at the end of the Parks Half Marathon and hearing the crowds at the finish line. I had never pushed myself to those physical limits before and to know I was just a few hundred feet from completing a race that most people will never accomplish.

Eric and his family following the finish of Parks Half Marathon, September 2010

Monday, February 21, 2011

Strength Training for Stronger Running

In addition to a balanced training program, proper running shoes, and a good stretching routine, strength training is integral to a well-balanced and healthy running program. Weak muscles, namely those in the core, glutes and hips, are often to blame for nearly all overuse injuries. Even injuries that may seem to have nothing to do with these muscles- knee problems, foot injuries, etc. often originate from a strength imbalance in the core and hips. Unfortunately, strength training is often the first thing runners let slip when trying to fit in workouts throughout the week. But strength training does not require a gym or a lot of time- in fact, the most effective strength training is functional strength training, or training the body for the activities performed in daily life (sitting, standing, etc.) Here are four functional strength training moves you can do at home with no equipment:

Planks: A plank is an excellent strength exercise for the core stabilizers (internal abdominal muscles). Get in a push-up position, with your wrists aligned under your shoulders. Keep your abdominal and glute muscles stable and keep your spine and neck aligned in a neutral position- do not let your head or hips drop. If you are unable to support yourself on your hands, you can modify the exercise and support your weight on your elbows, or even drop your knees to the ground. Hold for 30-60 seconds, lower and repeat 3-5 times.

Squats: Squats are a great multi-joint exercise, targeting the hips, glutes, hamstrings and quads. When doing a squat, your weight should be in your heels and knees should be directly over the toes and pointed in the same direction (if your knees track outside or fall inwards, you are putting yourself at risk for a knee injury). Maintain a neutral (straight) back position and keep your head and chest up. Squat down as far as comfortable, but no further than hips in line with knees (or thighs parallel to the ground). Imagine you are sitting on a chair- you can even place one behind you for guidance. Come back up, and repeat ten times, working up to thirty reps over time.

Lunges: Like squats, lunges are another exercise that targets just about every muscle in the lower body. To do a static lunge, place one foot forward and one back, approximately 2-3 feet apart. Keep your chest and head held high and raise up onto your back toe. Bend knees and lower your body until the back knee is a few inches from the floor, and both knees are bent at about 90 degrees. At the bottom of the movement, the front thigh should be parallel to the floor and the back knee should point toward the floor. Do not let your front knee track in front of your toe, and keep your weight evenly distributed between both legs while you push back up, pushing into the heel of the front foot. Repeat for 10 reps (working up to a max of 30) before switching legs and repeating on the other side.
Push-Ups: Push-ups work your upper body, primarily the chest, deltoids (shoulders) and triceps in addition to the core. You can perform a push-up on your toes or knees, or even standing up against a wall or high box. Keep your wrists in line under your shoulders, engage your core, and bend your elbows to lower yourself to the ground (or into the wall) before pushing back out again. Do NOT cross your ankles. Remember to keep your neck and spine in a neutral (straight-line) position- don’t strain your neck to look up or let your hips sag to the ground. Repeat ten times, working up to a maximum of three reps of 10.
Perform these strength training moves 2-3 times per week, and you will see improvement in your strength and running!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fuel Your Running

It's Valentine's Day, and the chocolate is overflowing in our homes, stores and offices today! If only that chocolate could efficiently fuel our running as well as some of those so-called superfoods and be calorie free...we can dream. For new and even veteran runners, what foods to eat and when to eat them is confusing, particularly because there is no single magic formula and the science continues to evolve. Nonethless, we do know that an appropriate combination of the right carbs and protein, along with plenty of fruits and vegetables, will efficiently fuel your running, regardless of your training goals, and satisfy your appetite.


Ideally, a runner's diet should consist of 60% carbs, 25% protein, and 15% fat.

Carbs: Carbohydrates are essential for runners, and not all carbs are created equal...i.e., Wonder Bread is not a wonder food! Embrace the whole grain and look for foods that are 100% whole grain. Any of the following whole grains provide excellent running fuel--100% whole grain bread, sweet potatoes, 100% whole grain cerals, such as Kashi brand, steel cut oatmeal, beans, quinoa (rich in protein too), and whole wheat pasta, along with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Protein: Another component of a runner's fuel is protein. Protein helps the body rebuild muscle fibers stressed during a run, which helps to minimize running-related injuries. Some superstar protein sources include eggs, nuts (particularly almonds), lean meats, fish (particularly salmon), beans, and low-fat dairy (particularly Greek yogurt).

Fats: Good fats are good for the heart and the appetite--eating good fats protects the heart and provides a sense of fullness. Avocados, nuts, peanut butter, olive oil are all excellent sources of good fat.


Whether you choose to eat six small meals, or three meals and some snacks, just try to have a small carbohydrate meal or snack one hour prior to your run. More importantly, within a half hour of completing your run, make sure to refuel your glycogen stores and rebuild those muscle fibers with a protein/carbohydrate meal, such as yogurt topped with fruit and granola, or one of our favorite treats, low-fat chocolate milk--yes chocolate is a runner-friendly food! Most importantly, enjoy your food and don't stress about it. Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Eating!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Runner Profile: Karyn

Karyn running the Philadelphia Half Marathon in November
Karyn, a busy mother of five, including 2-year old twins, joined us for our Fall Half Marathon training program in Summer 2010 and successfully completed not one, but three half marathons this past fall!

Name: Karyn

Age: 40

When I started running: I ran track in way back in HS (20+ years ago) for one year, but the first long distance running I did was when decided to run the Marine Corps Marathon in 1998. After that I ran after my pregnancies to lose the baby weight.

Why I run: Now I run to maintain my sanity/clear my head, to stay in shape and because I really love it. I feel that it is empowering that I can accomplish anything that I set my mind to.

Favorite local race: Even though it’s been years since I’ve run it I’d have to say the Marine Corps Marathon because it has such great spectators cheering everyone on and that in itself gives you so much energy.

How I stay motivated: I have to just get up early and go and not think about it. I know that I’ll feel better afterward and have less stress then if I decided to blow it off. And I know I’ll be a much calmer and nicer mommy to my 5 kids if I keep up with my runs.

Most memorable running moment: Probably the most memorable moment I have had so far was when I was on the downhill coming into downtown Baltimore to the finish line and becoming so overwhelmed and empowered because after such a challenging course, I knew that I was going to finish and most likely beat my goal time. It was a great feeling!

Future goals/race plans: I plan on running the National Half Marathon, the Maryland Double (Frederick/Baltimore) and hopefully a full marathon because I’d like to do at least one more to prove to myself that I can do it again now that I’m in my 40’s.

Advice for new runners: 1)Train with a group because it will help you stay on track and you’ll be accountable to someone other than yourself. 2) Start small and slowly add more to your mileage – you’ll be amazed at how far you can go. 3) Anything is possible, set a goal and go for it!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Making the Most of the "Dreadmill"

Although summer running is challenging because of the oppressive heat and humidity, we often long for those days as we throw on layer after layer and use hand warmers to run in temps that are only balmy for those living in Alaska. Let's face it; winter running is tough, even for the heartiest of runners, but when dressed appropriately, outdoor winter running is possible and can even be enjoyable.

Inevitably, though, every winter there are bound to be a few days where running outside is just not practical- or safe. Last Tuesday was a perfect example: ice storms and running outside do not mix. The risk of falling during an icy run far outweighs any benefit to running outdoors, and that's when the treadmill becomes a welcome alternative. If the thought of running like a hamster for a few miles at your local gym makes you want to crawl back into bed, we have a few workouts to throw into your treadmill running routine that will help relieve some of your boredom--some good trash TV helps, too!

1. Hill Run Workout: (40 minutes total): (1) slowly run for 10 minutes to warm up at a 1.0 incline; (2) run a steady pace for 2 minutes at any incline higher than 1.0 that challenges you to feel/breathe like you are pushing up a hill; (3) recover at an easy pace for 1 minute at 1.0 incline. (4) Continue alternating 2 minutes hill/1 minute recovery until you reach 30 minutes (5) Slowly run for 10 minutes to cool down.

2. Cardio Interval Workout: (30 minutes total): (1) slowly run for 10 minutes at an easy pace (should be able to talk while running); (2) run for 30 seconds at a fast pace/high intensity; (3) recover at an easy pace (or walk) for 30 seconds; (4) repeat high intensity/low intensity for 10 minutes total (can be increased to 15 or 20 minutes for non-beginners); (5) slowly run for 10 minutes to cool down.

3. Stride workout: (1) run at an easy pace (should be able to talk while running) for a few miles; (2) during the last mile of your run, accelerate your pace to almost your maximum effort for 20 seconds (this is called a stride); (3) run slowly to recover and lower your heart rate; (4) repeat each stride/recovery 3 more times (5) run at an easy pace for a few minutes to cool down.

Remember that running on a treadmill is different than running outside- the lack of wind resistance, assistance of a moving belt, and the flat, smooth predictable surface of the treadmill work together to impact the level of effort required at a particular pace as compared to running outside. We’ve found this treadmill pace conversion chart to be a helpful tool to estimate equivalent efforts between running on a treadmill at different paces and inclines and running outdoors on a level surface.

Just think--in just a few months, the weather will turn milder, the treadmill will accumulate dust, and we can all start complaining about challenges of running in the heat and humidity again.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Try a Tri!

Lisa exiting the water after the swim portion of a triathlon- often the most nerve-wracking for runners!

We are always advocating the benefits of cross-training for runners; in addition to helping prevent injury, cross-training can fend off boredom and even improve performance. While the world of triathlon may seem intimidating to many runners, adding swimming and biking to your fitness routine is actually a fun way to mix up your running routine.

"Trying a tri" doesn't have to be a scary prospect- there are numerous local beginner-friendly triathlons of shorter distances ("sprint" distance triathlons typically have a 750 meter swim, 12 mile bike, 3.1 mile run; there are "super sprint" triathlons with shorter distances, as well). Some triathlons even have pool (vs. open water) swims and there are others that are female-only, catering to women who are first time triathlon participants.

One of the most popular and best-organized beginner-friendly, women-only triathlons is Iron Girl Columbia. Held in August in nearby Columbia, Maryland, the 2011 race sold out in just 6 hours but there are a few charity spots still available through Uniting Against Lung Cancer and Team Broderick, in honor of Coach Mike Broderick. Coach Broderick was a much-loved and renown local coach (often called the "coaches coach," he led our coaching certification course) who lost his battle with lung cancer in November. Race entries are pre-paid, and the fundraising requirement is $650- if you or anyone you know is interested in one of the spots, or in a spot in the equally popular (and sold out) Columbia Triathlon, contact Julie at

Get a taste of triathlon and an expert overview of all three triathlon disciplines at Fleet Feet Gaithersburg's upcoming Triathlon Seminar Series. The series is FREE and includes sessions on "Triathlon 101" (overview of the sport), Run Training Tips and Injury Prevention (we will be speaking at this session!), a Bike Clinic and Training Sports Nutrition, Swim Training and Transitions. Whether you are just thinking about adding biking and swimming to your exercise routine or you've already raced a triathlon, these free seminars will be a great way to get expert advice and ask questions. RSVP to each seminar by emailing or calling 301-926-6442.

Try something new this year- try a tri!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Runner Profile: Dana

Dana with two of her fellow Fall Half Marathon participants and running partners at the Jolly Fat Man's Run in Bethesda, Maryland, December 2010

Dana completed our Fall Half Marathon training program in the summer of 2010, having only run indoors on the treadmill prior to beginning the program. She is currently training for her first marathon, the ING Miami Marathon, as part of Team Chai Lifeline in memory of a close friend. Dana has finished the bulk of her training and heads to Miami for the marathon on Sunday, January 30!

Name: Dana

Age: 34

When I started running: I have been running and swimming for a number of years, but only running inside on the treadmill. I started training for outside running on June 6, 2010.

Why I run: I run to stay fit and healthy. It also gives me more energy and mental clarity!

Favorite local race: I enjoyed the Heritage Half Marathon in Gainesville, VA on October 3, 2010.

How I stay motivated: I pick future races and set up a training calendar and plan to stick to. It also helps to find other runners who can join you for long weekend runs.

Most memorable running moment: It has to be finishing my second 20 mile training run on December 12th . I started at 6 AM and ended at 9:20 AM, just in time to stop in to give my kids a kiss and hug before Hebrew School!

Future goals/race plans: I am training for the Miami Marathon to raise money for Chai Lifeline. I am dedicating my run in memory of Mrs. Zlata Geisinsky, z"l a close friend who died in June. She was a remarkable woman and a source of inspiration to me. You can see my page:

Advice for new runners: Find a group to train with for your first race. You will build relationships and meet other people who can help you achieve your goals.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The New Perfect

This week, we were guest bloggers for The New Perfect, a blog written by Hollee Schwartz Temple and Becky Beaupre Gillespie, a law professor/journalist duo who write the work/life balance column for the ABA Journal and who are co-authors of the upcoming book, Good Enough is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood, due out Spring 2011 by Harlequin Nonfiction.

Check out our article on how to fit fitness into the hectic (and often unpredictable) life of a parent at and if you're on Facebook, you can find Becky and Hollee there too by clicking here!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

JCC Program Registration OPEN!

A few of the runners who successfully completed the Fall 2010 JCC Running Program at the Veteran's Day 10K in Washington, DC

Registration for our program at the JCC of Greater Washington is OPEN—don’t miss this chance to join a great group of supportive running friends while you train to run farther and faster in 2011! While the goal of this program is the Pike’s Peek 10K in Rockville, Maryland on Sunday, April 17, it is open to runners who are also training for the Cherry Blossom 10-miler on April 3.

Runners need to be able to complete two miles without walking but there is no pace requirement- in the past we have had runners of all levels and all paces, from those just reaching the 2-mile base to those who have already completed several longer races but who want to work on their speed at the 10K level. Programs will be tailored to individual levels of fitness and goals. Runners of all ages are welcome, and this comprehensive program includes a 10-week training program, weekly organized and coached group runs on Sunday mornings, entry to the Pike’s Peek 10K, speakers on various running-related topics, a technical running t-shirt and a discount at co-sponsor Fleet Feet Gaithersburg.

Group runs will take place at various locations in Gaithersburg, Rockville and Bethesda on Sundays at 8:00 beginning on February 13 (no session on Sunday, March 20). An orientation will be held on Wednesday, February 9 at 7 p.m. at Fleet Feet. For more information, see To register, go to and enter code 11WSHF01. Cost for JCC members is $99 and $125 for the general public.

Of course, feel free to contact either of us with questions- hope you can join us!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

In The News

For articles written about or by Run Farther & Faster, visit:

Town Courier, March 30, 2012, "Local Women Make Running a Career," (page 7)

Rockville Macaroni Kid, September 2010, "Getting Motivated to Start and Stick With an Exercise Program,"