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Running in hot weather brings challenges that can test the most dedicated runners. The sun, humidity, and increased fatigue can make it difficult to stay positive. However, with the right mental strategies, you can conquer the heat and enjoy your summer runs. Here are some tips to help:

1. Adjust Your Expectations

Understand that running in hot weather is more demanding on your body. Your pace may slow down, and that's okay. Instead of focusing on your speed, concentrate on the effort you're putting in. woman-running-beach-light-vacation-excercise-jogging-walking-run

2. Set Small, Achievable Goals

Breaking your run into smaller, manageable segments can make the task seem less daunting. Instead of thinking about the entire distance, focus on reaching the next landmark or completing the next mile. Celebrate these small victories along the way to keep your spirits high.

3. Stay Hydrated and Cool

Proper hydration is so important. Make sure you're well-hydrated before, during, and after your run. Additionally, find ways to stay cool, such as running in shaded areas, wearing light-colored clothing, or using a cooling towel.

4. Visualize Success

Visualization is a powerful mental tool. Before your run, take a few minutes to visualize yourself running strong despite the heat. Picture yourself finishing your run with a sense of accomplishment. This mindset can boost your confidence.

5. Practice Positive Self-Talk

Internal dialogue plays a significant role in your performance. Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Instead of thinking, "It's too hot, I can't do this," remind yourself, "I am tough, and I can handle the challenge."

6. Run with a Buddy

Running with a friend can provide a morale boost - distracting you from the discomfort, helping to keep your pace steady, and offering encouragement when you need it most. If you don't have a running buddy, consider joining a local running group.

7. Embrace the Experience

Shift your perspective and appreciate the opportunity to push your limits. Every run contributes to your overall progress and resilience!

By adopting these mental strategies, you'll not only survive the summer heat but you’ll thrive in it!

10 Years Later: A New Personal Best

Major milestone:

New 8k PB running 2024 Chicago Shamrock Shuffle (10 years after running the last one and post-kid pause).

What is the secret to your success?Rebecca_Hamid_Success_Story_Blog

Gradual build-up to stay injury-free. Running majority of weekly mileage slow. Pushing limits during weekly tempo run. Scraping and foam rolling. Listen to body first even if that means missing a run here and there or going slower. Focus on better quality sleep and hydration.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? 

Finding the time for base building and marathon build-ups with two young kids and a demanding job. I changed the way I train and now doing most of my miles on my treadmill at home (instead of group runs outside pre-kids).

What is the most rewarding part of training? 

Putting it all into action during a race and seeing the progress made.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?

Choose the training method and volume/running goals that work best for your circumstances.

What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?

Being an experienced runner now training independently, this tool works great to keep me motivated and on track. Having a coach available for questions along the way personalizes the experience further and has helped me when doubts came up along the way.

Windy_HillIf your usual palette of running or walking routes is dominated by flat paths, there are several reasons why it makes sense to include some hill work in your regular rotation. Similarly, if your favorite loops include plenty of hills, there should be lots of motivation to savor the opportunity to get out there and plug away up the slopes.  Even if your workouts are generally confined to a treadmill, raising the incline can also provide a taste of hills

In the past, we have detailed some basic tips for getting up and down hills efficiently.  Even if you remember these tips, it is always good to periodically remind yourself of the basics which may have been neglected when other concerns become priorities while out for a run or walk.

Assuming you are moving efficiently and in a way that will help prevent injury, there are a number of good reasons to stick with this type of terrain, even if it is outside of your comfort zone.

1. Hills help you learn how to manage challenges without stressing out

Races (and even training) can often include unanticipated hurdles to clear, or rough patches. Adding some terrain where the pace may be slightly more difficult to come by or where your rhythm is disrupted can help remind you to move with efficient form.   Hills encourage you to focus on slower, rhythmic breathing, which can also help even as the hill is crested. In short, hills help remove distractions and increase concentration on the task at hand.  That can help, even if the going is currently a bit more tough.

2. Hills can turn a fear into a strength

Avoiding hills intentionally or unintentionally because they are difficult might be a way to avoid some more challenging workouts, but they also might obscure an opportunity to develop a new strength.  Consider whether you want to approach a hilly section of your goal race with the attitude of dread or one where you tell yourself, “This is my time.”  Practice on hills and you might find that you can cover that type of terrain better than others in your typical pace group.  Rarely does it make sense to truly charge up a hill in the midst of your half or full marathon effort, but approaching the base of a climb with confidence that you are at least or even better prepared for the challenge than your fellow racers is an extremely positive feeling to have.  You can even have a significant impact on your training partners with that positive attitude and help their confidence as well.

3. Hills can raise your heart rate without the pounding

When your schedule calls for efforts over a certain amount of time with qualitative descriptions for the paces, such as “uptempo,” an uphill path can achieve the desired effort with less gravitational pressure than would be required on a flat or downhill route.  If impact related injuries are a concern or even if extended periods of time on hard surfaces are a concern, an uphill route can mitigate some of those stresses while not compromising the desired effort level.  You may not be traveling that exact same speed as a flat path, but your cardiovascular system will be similarly stimulated.

4. Hills are strength work for key muscles

Running or walking up hills places an increased demand on your glutes, and calves, not to mention your quads, which are pushed both on the uphill as well as the downhill portions of your workout.  These muscles are key for any goal race where serious fatigue can set in.  Including hills sensibly in your weekly routine can help challenge these muscles and prepare them to handle the extraordinary requirements of a lengthy effort over an unforgiving pavement course.

Running or walking hills can be great for these or other specific benefits, but they also can just be a fun new challenge.  Embrace what they offer and get the most of your time on the hills. Even if you don’t enjoy the process 100% of the time, it is usually time well spent toward the achievement of your goals.  You may not enjoy them at the moment, but you will likely be glad for them when on the victorious side of the finish line.

Written by Dena Evans
Updated by Cally Macumber






Summer Berry Smoothie

Written by Cally Macumber May 28, 2024
Written by Neely Gracey
Updated by Cally Macumber

Looking for a healthy and delicious post run snack? Try this protein and antioxidant filled smoothie that will be sure to leave you feeling satified.smoothie2

Summer Berry Smoothie
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 4 frozen strawberries
Blend all ingredients, enjoy! 

-Makes 1 serving
Includes important recovery ingredients: Protein, Carbs, Antioxidants, Potassium, Calcium, Fiber

Written by Neely Spence Gracey
Updated by Cally Macumber

Fitness is built by introducing stress (training) to your body.

Your body initially freaks out (why running feels so difficult at the beginning of training), but it learns to adapt. The adaptation is a result of the stress+recovery=fitness equation. Without a proper recovery, your body cannot gain the intended fitness, thus, injury, illness, and burnout may occur. Today, we share some tips on recovery that will help you build your desired fitness and see results!

Recovery starts within your runs. In the summer, you will need to plan water/fluid stops to keep your hydration game strong. Drink sops while running will help keep your body happy and far away from dehydration issues. This practice will allow you to feel stronger mid run, and recover more quickly post

Post run recovery begins with fluids too. A simple 10 minute recovery program looks like this:

  • Sip fluids with carbohydrate and electrolyte (a recovery drink with protein is great too)

  • Start a short active stretch routine:

  1. Hamstrings

  2. Hips/Glutes

  3. Calf/Achilles

  4. Leg swings

Understand the pros of protein synthesis. Your body can only absorb and utilize 15-20 grams of protein at a time. Instead of over indulging on protein in one sitting, try spacing it out in 4-6 doses per day with your final protein snack just before bedtime. One cup of greek yogurt, 3 ounces of meat, fairlife milk, protein supplement, some cereals, or a smoothie are all good options. If you have protein in your system right before bed, your body can actively use it during the peak recovery that occurs with sleep!

There is huge benefit to a routine when it comes to sleeping. Develop a routine that works for your schedule that allots minimum of 8 hours of sleep per night. If you have a set time you start getting ready for bed, you will have better time management throughout the day, resulting in less procrastination and other stress inducing habits. Sleep is when your recovery hormones are at their highest and are working hard to make you stronger, fitter, and closer to your goals.

Happy training, and more importantly, happy recovery.

Written by Neely Gracey
Updated by Cally Macumber

The main way to meet your goals is to follow your training plan, but it never hurts to put a little thought into what could help support your active lifestyle! Recovery, Strength Training, Consistency, Hydration, Mid Run/Race Fueling, and Pre-Run /Post-Run Nutrition are all important details that will help you feel stronger and healthier. There will be a series of blog posts on each of these topics, stay tuned!

Pre-Run and Post-Run Nutritionsmoothie

When it comes to good eating habits, the number one thing to remember is moderation. Unless you have an allergy, or know certain foods don’t sit well in your stomach, then nothing is off limits. It’s all about the timing, and learning a good routine that works well for you. There are two key times when nutrition is critical during training; pre-run, and post-run. Let’s explore these in more detail.

Pre-run fueling is critical to dial in, especially if you have a sensitive stomach. If you’re a morning runner, you may not have much time to grab a snack before heading out to get in your training. Try something light, easy to digest, and carb focused for quick fuel. A banana, piece of toast, granola bar, sports chews, electrolyte mix, etc. All followed by water to wash it down and kick start your hydration for the day. Getting in some calories and fluids before a morning run is really important because you haven’t eaten for many hours, and you may have become dehydrated throughout the night. Fueling up beforehand will help ensure the success of your training efforts.

If you’re an afternoon/evening runner, than you have a day of meals to plan before your run. The morning isn’t too specific, but the meal/snack 3 hours prior to your run is very important. You will want to stick to something bland and not too heavy. A giant burrito may not leave you feeling great on your upcoming workout. Instead, try a sandwich, soup and side salad, sushi, etc. Good choices are things that are low in fats, easy to digest, and include no ingredients that irritate your stomach. Having a meal 3 hours before a run allows the body time to process and use the food as fuel. This will also help prevent cramps from eating too close to exercise.

Post-run fueling is all about starting the recovery process. In a run, your muscles are put under stress, and afterwards, they need protein to rebuild. Having carbs with your protein helps expedite this process, and according to the Olympic Training Performance Center, can also help boost your immune system. If you struggle to eat solids after running, you’re not alone! Try yogurt, smoothies, popsicles, or protein enriched milk. Whatever you consume post run, focus on carbs, proteins, antioxidants, essential fats, and fluids. The suggestion is to get in 100-200 calories within an hour of completing your run. You then have enough fuel to kick start recovery, protein synthesis, and rehydration before you get in your next full meal.  Finding a routine that works for you will allow your body to function at it’s best and be ready to nail those workouts as you chase your goals.

Written by Neely Gracey
Updated by Cally Macumber

Did you know that water does more than just keep you hydrated? Obviously, that is an important role, but water is essential in your body for three other important tasks.


   1-Water helps transport nutrients to the working muscles during training

   2-Water eliminates waste products (like lactic acid) during high intensity training

   3-Water works to keep your core temperature cooler by dissipating heat through sweating

Hydration does not have to be from water alone. Here are some other ideas of delicious, refreshing, and hydrating summer drinks.

The ramifications of not having enough fluid in your system can start with just 2% fluid loss. Headache, lack of concentration, dizziness, fatigue, inability to recover, and overall decreased ability to perform. Nothing that helps your training or allows you to work hard towards your goals. To avoid any of these happening to you this summer, here are a few things to include in your daily routine.

   1-Drink 8-12 ounces of water when you first wake up to kick start hydration

   2-Drink more than just water. Adding in electrolyte beverages will help your cells saturate with fluid and not dilute your body’s natural salt chemistry

   3-Drink consistently throughout the day. Keep a water bottle with you at all times

Hold up your water bottle in a toast to quality summer training and good hydration!

Whether you're lounging by the pool, enjoying a cool night on the porch, or taking a break between training sessions, a book is a great way to find some extra motivation! Check out our curated reading list:

  1. "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall

    • This book explores the secrets of the Tarahumara Indians, known for their long-distance running abilities. McDougall dives into the science and spirit of running.

  2. "Run Fast. Eat Slow." by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky

    • Olympic marathoner Shalane Flanagan and chef Elyse Kopecky share their favorite recipes designed to fuel runners. This book combines the joy of cooking with practical advice on how to nourish your body for optimal performance.

  3. "Running with the Buffaloes" by Chris Lear

    • This book follows the University of Colorado's cross-country team through a season of triumphs and challenges. Lear captures the dedication and intense training that drive competitive running.

  4. "Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of  Thinking My Way to Victory" by Deena Kastor and Michelle Hamilton

    • Olympic medalist Deena Kastor shares her journey of mental transformation and how positive thinking played an important role in her running success. Her story is a motivational guide to the power of the mind in sports and life.

  5. "Choosing to Run: A Memoir" by Des Linden and Bonnie D. Ford

    • Choosing to Run is an inspirational memoir from Boston Marathon winner and Olympian Des Linden, sharing her personal story and what motivates her to keep showing up.

  6. "Finding Ultra" by Rich Roll

    • Rich Roll’s memoir talks about his transformation from an unhealthy middle-aged man to an elite ultra-endurance athlete. His journey of physical and mental resilience serves as a testament to the potential for personal change and achievement.

  7. Barn Boots to Running Shoes” by Nancy Kelley

    • Nancy Kelley, a longtime Runcoach customer, takes you through her experiences of training horses and then ultimately becoming a runner in this pervasive story about her journey.

  8. "Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women's Sports" by Kathrine Switzer

    • Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon, shares her story of breaking barriers and advocating for women in sports, a must-read for anyone looking for inspiration.

Breaking Barriers: 17-Minute PR at Big Sur Marathon

Major milestone:

17 minute PR at Big Sur Marathon

What is the secret to your success?

Running two workouts a week helped me get faster and more comfortable with being slightly uncomfortable.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? 

I have a psycho neurological disorder that is as yet undiagnosed. Under stress, I get episodes. Running long distances brings them on but I love to run long distances. It is an art I’m learning to time preventative medication taking while I run. This marathon I was able to stave off episodes until mile 25 when I ducked into a portapotty for 9 minutes to compose myself and wait for the medicine to kick in. My training was enough to have set a 26 minute PR but until I get a diagnosis I also have episodes to contend with when running distance.

What is the most rewarding part of training? 

The mile time trial was rewarding for me. I ran faster than I knew I could. Hitting paces during speed interval, tempo, and threshold runs easily as the training progressed showed me my progress as at first I could not hit the paces prescribed. Long runs always made me feel proud of myself.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?

Runcoach is an excellent program. Having a coach is very helpful. As things come up and you need to adapt the plan, your coach can do that. The unconditional positivity Cally shined on me throughout training really boosted my spirits and confidence. Follow your plan as best as you can but know you don’t have to be perfect. Other aspects of life demand our time and I couldn’t accomplish all my runs. The program still worked to get me to the finish much faster than before.

Anything else you would like to share?

Cally is kind, knowledgeable, encouraging, and a runner I look up to. She’s a wonderful coach. She took the time to adapt my plan many times.

What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?

It’s a great program with great coaches. I would use it again to reach a PR.

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