Training the UpNorthLive three amigos

Lisa Taylor is the official Race to Bayshore running coach who will train Marc, Anne and Lauren to their Bayshore goals. Run along at

I am so excited to be training Marc Schollett, Anne Cook, and Lauren Tucker as they each prepare to take on the Marathon, a10K, and a Half Marathon this coming Spring. Representing Excelerate Run in Traverse City, it is my hope that you will identify with each of them and their goals, training plan, and challenges, and may decide to follow along for the ride!

Todayâ??s blog lays out an overview of how I set up my plan for helping them each reach their goals: Marc wants to qualify for the Boston Marathon, Anne wants to complete her first 10K, and Lauren wants to do her half marathon in an above average time.

Marc, Anne, and Lauren are all people you could identify with, mainly because they are running for recreation and self-accomplishment. They are not going for â??eliteâ?? times, to win a medal, or set an age group record. They are working folks with great goals that are achievable! So as I lay out the plan to help them reach their running goals, check back and think about whether you might want to join in. Piggy back onto their plan from the start, and you might be surprised at where it takes you!

I developed Marc, Anne and Laurenâ??s plan for each event first by having them share a complete history of their running experience, and any prior athletic background they may have. This is important to a running coach, because it is essential to start a training plan that is individualized, and that recognizes individual strengths and weaknesses, and specific logistical challenges they may face, such as work schedules and family life. Most importantly, I wanted to know a little bit about their personality to help me tune in to their sense of motivation.

Next, I wanted to be sure they were physically ready for upping their â??mileageâ??, so we had them assessed by the physical therapist and athletic trainers at Excel Physical Therapy, Steph Walton and Dena Johnson, who also head up the Excelerate Run program. Steph and Dena performed a series of tests to identify any muscular imbalances that could cause trouble with increased training. They also had the trio run on a treadmill (not at the same time!) to identify stride rate and to assess gait patterns. In summary, they were all sent home with a strength regimen to supplement their running. They also had a good idea of what running shoes would be best for them, which is extremely important.

I have written full, sixteen week training plans for each different runner that will begin on February 4th, and take them to their goal date of May 25. They will be starting each training week on Monday, and will be keeping track of their training with a log I will review. Each week I will give them their next weekâ??s training schedule, and will be asking them to share their biggest challenges, and their most interesting observation about their training. I will also ask them to share one weekly tip that other runners may be able to learn from.

Writing training plans is the easy part for any coach. Folks love to debate â??what is the best training planâ??, but my years of experience coaching both elite runners and recreational runners has taught me the best plan is â??the one the athlete believes in.â?? Trust and belief in the plan makes all the difference in the world.

Nevertheless, my training plans have all the basic elements youâ??d find in most any programs in a book, magazine, or online.

All sound training plans focus on the basic concepts of frequency, duration, and intensity of training. What this means is that Iâ??ll be expecting each of our runners to run a certain numbers of times each week, for certain periods of time, and at a certain level of â??pushâ??.

Sound training plans also focus in the concept of â??adaptationâ?? and â??specificityâ?? in training. For that reason, our teamâ??s plans focus on progressively, yet conservatively, increasing mileage/duration of runs; having rest days for recovery, and on being specific in our training. In other words, to become more fit runners, we will have the gang run, whether it be inside on a treadmill or outside in the cold. This is an important point to make, because it emphasizes the scientific fact that similar aerobic activities like cycling or swimming or skiing are not substitutes for running. I believe these activities can enhance training and recovery for running, but not take itâ??s place in helping the runner advance their running fitness. So, to become fit for running, Marc, Anne and Lauren will be running.

My go-to source for adult recreational runners for anything from the 10K to the marathon is Hal Higdon. I have modified his plans for each of our runners, with some tweaks to sandwich in a rest day, and to allow for two week adaptation phases. I would describe the plan to be a realistic, balanced training plan for working, family oriented people. It is a basic program that is easy to follow, yet very effective. Above all, with weekly â??coachingâ?? we will have the chance to trouble shoot when the inevitable â??bumps in the roadâ?? come about.

As a coach, I am excited to have the opportunity to be working with three super motivated, energetic, â??up and doingâ?? people. All coaches agree that real coaching occurs when you have the chance to observe and interact how an athlete responds to training on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Iâ??ll be sure to share my experiences in a way you can all benefit from as you keep track of their progress here each week.

So come along with Marc, Anne, and Lauren, and letâ??s reach some goals!