Running coach in Utah

Beginner Runners Aches and Pains

Running is a repetitive sport and as such there is a relatively high rate of aches and pains in all runners, especially beginner runners. Below is some information on the most common aches and pains among runners, ways to prevent them, and how to treat them if they occur. Prevention is the best medicine! 


Blisters occur due to extended friction between your skin and your sock. Anything that increases the friction between the skin and the sock can cause or worsen a blister, such as an increased pace, poor-fitting shoes, foot abnormalities (bunions, hammertoes, or heel spurs), heat, or moisture. 

To prevent blisters, start by coating high-risk areas on the feet with a lubricant such as Body Glide. Make sure you are wearing well-fitting shoes in the right size. Many specialty running stores can fit your feet with the correct type and size of running shoes. There should be a thumb’s width of space between the toes and the end of the toe box. The socks should also fit well and be made of breathable and moisture-wicking material such as wool, polyester, or nylon; avoid cotton as it will hold onto moisture. 

If you do get a blister, there are a few things you can do to lessen the pain. If the blister is small and doesn’t prohibit movement, leave it alone. The membrane of the blister helps to protect the sensitive skin underneath and keeps the bacteria out. If the blister is large, purple, painful, and inhibits normal movement of your toes, clean the area around the blister and a needle with soap and water; pop the blister but leave the flap of skin in place to protect the skin underneath. Make sure to clean the site regularly to prevent infection. To protect small blisters and keep the swelling down, cover the blister with moleskin. 


There are two types of chafing: skin-on-skin and fabric-on-skin. Skin-on-skin chafing is when your thighs or underarms rub together. Fabric-on-skin chafing is when the fabric of your shirt or sports bra rubs against your skin. Chafing is caused by several factors including: loose-fitting clothing, non-breathable fabrics, and hot or humid weather. 

To prevent chafing, wear tight-fitting layers made from synthetic fabrics. Again, no cotton since it can hold in moisture and increase the chance of chafing. Apply a lubricant such as Body Glide in areas that are at high risk for chafing (thighs, armpits, and nipples). Covering the nipples with band-aids is another way to prevent chafing in this area. Also be mindful of the equipment you wear while running, such as hydration vests, armbands for phones, heart rate monitors, etc. Secure this equipment so they don’t bounce and rub against your skin. It is also a good idea to apply the lubricant to these areas as well. 

If you do experience some chafing during your run, make sure your shower water after your run is lukewarm; a hot shower can make the burning worse. Gently wash the chafed area with an antibacterial soap, pat dry, and apply an antibacterial ointment such as Desitin. Put on loose, comfortable clothing that won’t irritate the area. 

Black Toenails

A black toenail is caused by a blood blister or bruise underneath the toenail. This happens when either the toes are crammed in the toe box or from the repeated slamming of the toes into the end of the shoe. This trauma can cause the blood vessels underneath the toe to break resulting in bleeding beneath the nail. 

To prevent black toenails, make sure your running shoes are the right size. Again, make sure you have a thumb’s width space between the toes and the end of the toe box. Too much downhill running can also contribute to black toenails as the toes slam into the end of the shoe more. Keep the toenails cut short; the more the toenail sticks out, the more they will slam into the end of the toe box. Wearing the right socks can also prevent black toenails as moisture can increase foot slippage. 

If you get a black toenail, it is best to leave it alone if the pain is manageable. If the toenail is very painful, it is best to visit a healthcare provider who can puncture the nail and release the pressure. If you would rather a home remedy, heat a needle until it is red hot and puncture the nail to release the pressure/fluid. Clean the toenail immediately after with an antiseptic solution and apply a sterile dressing to minimize the risk of infection. If you notice any redness or signs of infection, seek professional medical assistance. 

Muscle Aches vs Pain

Any time your muscles are pushed beyond their normal daily routine or limits, it is very normal to experience some soreness known as Delayed Onset Muscles Soreness or DOMS. The American College of Sports Medicine states that “any type of activity that places unaccustomed loads on muscles may lead to DOMS. This type of soreness is different from acute soreness, which is pain that developed during the actual activity. DOMS typically begins 12-24 hours after the exercise has been performed and may produce the greatest pain between 24-72 hours after the exercise has been performed.” Expect some DOMS at the beginning of a training period, after a tough hill workout or strength training routine, after your first long run without walking, or after a tough speed workout or race. The key is that it should not be painful during the activity and should typically dissipate within 3-4 days. Anti-inflammatory meds can help manage the symptoms and many times activity often decreases them, whereas prolonged rest can momentarily increase the pain once you start moving. There is not great research and lots of theories on what causes DOMS and there has not been much success in terms of finding ways to speed up recovery or prevent the process. It is just part of training and should make you feel accomplished that you pushed yourself beyond what your body normally does!

While DOMS is normal, pain that is brought on during running, particularly after easy runs, or increases while you run, is something to be more concerned about. Pain that limits your daily activities is almost always a red flag that you should pay attention to. It does not always mean something terrible is going on and that you will never be able to run again, but it is something that should be addressed sooner rather than later to prevent it from turning into something more limiting. The solution may be as easy as stretching after your run or getting a pair of insoles for your shoes or you may need to visit your doctor or a local physical therapist specializing in running for a more thorough evaluation of your pain. In fact, many physical therapists who are running-focused will offer a general runner’s evaluation to take a look at your gait, flexibility, and strength and give you a good set of exercises and recommendations to keep you healthy and injury free on your running journey! 


Running is hard work and you should expect to be more tired when you first start! It may take a few weeks to get to the point where your body levels off and is used to the increased activity, particularly if you were not very active before you started running. As time goes on, you should begin to feel less and less tired on the days you run and will often become more energized due to your increased physical activity.

However, if you are becoming fatigued to the point that your daily activities are affected or you are no longer sleeping well, this warrants further investigation. It may be that you are overtraining and doing too much too soon, and you may need to back off. You may benefit from a doctor visit to assess your bloodwork and/or vitamin levels, as sometimes this can be cause for excessive fatigue. Another area to assess is your diet. Poor diet can be another cause of excessive fatigue when you increase activity. You will need to take in increased calories, but they should be good, healthy calories that will fuel your activity. A great place to direct your diet questions would be a registered dietitian or certified nutritionist. There are often practitioners in these fields who will specialize in athletes or running if this is an area you need more information in.

Shin Splints

Shin splints are one of the most common runner injuries. Shin splints are characterized by a nagging, aching, or throbbing pain concentrated on the front of your leg. The pain is usually felt either during or after your run or if you press on the area. The pain is most severe at the beginning of the run but will often lessen once the muscles are loosened up. 

They are caused by tired or inflexible calf muscles putting excess stress on the tendons which then become inflamed, strained, and torn. Factors that can contribute to shin splints are overpronation, worn out shoes, lack of cushioning, or running on hard surfaces. Beginner runners are more at risk for developing shin splints because they are using leg muscles that haven’t been stressed in the same way before. In addition, the cardiovascular system develops in beginner runners before the musculoskeletal system. In other words, the heart and lungs are ready to run faster and longer, but the muscles and bones are not. Another group of runners at risk are runners returning from injury. Oftentimes, these runners increase their mileage too quickly, and their leg muscles can’t keep up. 

If the shin splints occur at the beginning of a season, a small amount of running may help the pain as the muscles will adapt and grow stronger. If the pain is persistent, you can try icing the area for 15 minutes three times a day. Anti-inflammatory meds can help with the pain. Ice the area immediately after a run. You may need to either cut down or stop running altogether. Recovery time can be between 2-4 weeks. If the injury doesn’t respond to self-treatment or rest, you may want to visit your healthcare provider or a physical therapist to assess if your gait, flexibility, or strength could be optimized and improve your symptoms. 

IT Band Syndrome

The iliotibial band (or IT band) is a tendon that runs along the outside of your leg from your hip to your knee. Once the tendon becomes tight, it can become irritated and swollen from rubbing against the hip or knee bones. This can cause an aching or sharp pain on the outside of the hip or knee. You may also experience a click, pop, or snap on the outside of your knee or pain on the outside of your thigh. 

Possible causes of a tight IT band include: 

  1. excessive foot pronation because it stretches the IT band and brings it closer to the bones
  2. weak hip abductors because a weakened ability to turn the hip away from the body can cause the IT band to tighten 
  3. pushing yourself too hard during exercise
  4. running on a tilted or curved surface
  5. lack of rest
  6. worn out shoes
  7. not warming up enough before exercise
  8. Increasing volume or intensity too quickly

Initially, the pain will start after you begin running. As the syndrome progresses, you may also feel the pain during the run and even while you are resting. In the initial stages, the pain will feel like an ache or burning sensation, but the pain will sharpen as the syndrome worsens. Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medicines can be helpful to reduce the pain.You will also want to see a physical therapist who can help treat the syndrome and prevent it from recurring. The physical therapist can prescribe exercises that can strengthen your IT band and the core and hip muscles surrounding it.  

To prevent IT band syndrome, always gradually increase training volume and intensity and incorporate strength training that focuses on the core and hip muscles as well as single-leg stability. 

Patellofemoral Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as runner’s knee, is another common injury among runners. The pain associated with Runner’s Knee can be sharp and sudden or dull and chronic; it may disappear while you are running and then return after you’ve stopped. It can include tenderness behind or around the kneecap, pain toward the back of the knee, and a feeling that the knee is giving out. It affects women more than men due to the fact that women tend to have wider hips; this results in a greater angle of the thigh bone to the knee which increases the stress on the kneecap. 

It is difficult to pinpoint a single cause of Runner’s Knee. There are many factors that could play a role:

  • Biomechanical issue – shape or location of the kneecap
  • Worn cartilage in the knee joint
  • Flat feet
  • High arches
  • Weak quads
  • Tight hamstring or calf muscles

At the first sign of pain, you should cut back your mileage which will lead to a faster recovery than trying to run through the pain. Applying ice for 15 minutes after each run can help with the inflammation and pain. You may need to try new shoes, inserts, or orthotics. If the pain persists, see a healthcare provider to rule out other conditions. 

To prevent Runner’s Knee, run on softer surfaces when possible, gradually increase mileage, and gradually add hill work into your training program. Strengthening the quadriceps will help support the kneecap and keep it in proper alignment. You may also want to visit a specialty running store to make sure you are wearing the correct shoes for your foot type and gait. 

Contact us at Team RunRun

If there are more runner aches and pains you’re interested in learning about, please reach out to us at Team RunRun for more details – [email protected]. In the meantime, keep training, keep having fun, and stay strong!

Coaches Carrie Neiman and Erin Babin co-wrote this article and are both coaches with Team RunRun. To learn more about them, check out Carrie’s profile and Erin’s profile.

Running With and After Covid

This is Coach Georgia Porter’s story of running with and after covid – how she dealt with it and how she returned to running afterwards. Special thanks to Georgia for sharing her story!

As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the world, the running community is far from immune. As the virus is relatively new, there are limited studies on the effects of Covid on physical exertion. An additional challenge to establishing conclusive data is the wide range of both symptoms and the duration of those symptoms experienced by those who have been infected. Even among healthy runners, these variations are present. Some with the virus test positive but remain asymptomatic while others develop long-term complications. These variations can leave runners unsure how to return to training after a Covid diagnosis. My goal in writing this isn’t to dive into the scientific research, because there isn’t enough research available to draw strong conclusions yet. I would however, like to share my experience contracting Covid as a runner for those who have questions or are currently dealing with Covid or Covid-related complications.

A quick side note for runners who have tested positive. First and foremost, you’re not alone! In a time of decreased human interaction, it’s tough to feel further isolated during quarantine when all interactions are cut off and (heaven forbid) you can’t run. Make sure to reach out to friends and family for support. It can also feel upsetting to inform others of your diagnosis. Most people I told immediately asked me where I contracted Covid, which made me feel as though I had done something wrong. I had no answer because my husband and I interacted with very few people, didn’t know anyone who tested positive, and always wore masks in public. Know that the rate of contagion and spreadability of this virus are also not fully understood, and although safety precautions help tremendously, it is still possible to contract Covid no matter how careful you are.

Signs and Symptoms

I tested positive for Covid on November 23rd of 2020. On November 21st I set out for a long run like I do most Saturdays. I was a month out from the elite-only Marathon Project and in the best shape of my life. The scheduled run for the day was an 18-mile long run with the first 8 miles easy, then an 8 mile progressive tempo, then 2 miles easy. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I didn’t feel quite right during the warm-up. Then again, I’d had crummy warm-ups before so I didn’t think too much about it. During the tempo I felt increasingly fatigued and, though I hit paces, it felt far more challenging than it should have. I remember finishing the run and sitting down on the side of the road because I was so lightheaded. I know workouts aren’t always perfect so I chalked it up to a bad day and didn’t consider that I might be getting sick. In retrospect, I wish I’d worn my GPS watch for that run because I suspect my heart rate would have been much higher than normal and I might have caught on sooner. That night I slogged through a 3-mile shakeout run and felt completely exhausted during and even after the run. I was quick to accredit it to the challenging workout and went to bed. I woke up the next morning incredibly sick. I was achy and feverish with a pounding headache and couldn’t move from the couch all day. Running was out of the question. Because it was Sunday I couldn’t get a Covid test and signed up for one the next morning.

That next day I felt a little better so I hoped it was only a cold. The next few days I felt great and on Wednesday, I was able to do my scheduled workout of 8 x 1k which felt amazing. I was still cautious and ran by myself on a road I knew would be empty but I was relieved and felt certain my test result would be negative. However, later that day I lost complete sense of smell and taste and shortly after received my positive Covid result. My heart sank (in small part because I wouldn’t be able to taste Thanksgiving dinner). My husband and I quarantined and I called my sister Sarah who coaches me to tell her the news. We discussed what I should do moving forward and because I felt great and had no lingering symptoms we decided I could keep training (running in isolated areas where I wasn’t around people). Then Saturday rolled around. I had another long run, this time 20 miles with no quality work. I did wear my GPS watch this time, though I didn’t check my heart rate during the run. The first half felt a little sluggish and I was tired. As the miles progressed I felt worse and worse. I was so fatigued it was a challenge to put one foot in front of the other and my pace slowed considerably. I remember wanting to quit but knowing I couldn’t because I would have to walk back to the start. I knew something was wrong. When I finished and got back home I uploaded the data from my watch and was absolutely shocked.

For some perspective (because everyone’s baseline is different) my resting heart rate is around 40 beats per minute (bpm) and on an easy run my heart rate falls into the range of 120 bpm to 130 bpm. When I race my heart rate is around 160 bpm and sometimes near the end of a race it will get up to a max of about 180 bpm. For that “easy” 20-mile long run my heart rate averaged 166 bpm with a couple high points around 190 bpm. My heart responded as if I was running 20 mile race. Something was indeed wrong. I’d like to say I stopped training that instant, but being only a few weeks out from an incredible race opportunity I’d trained so hard for made the decision difficult. Hoping it was a fluke, I attempted easy runs the following couple days with the same result in heart rate. However, this time I kept a close eye on my watch and stopped each run short when my heart rate climbed above 160 bpm. It was at that point my coach and I called my season. I knew it was the right decision but I was still devastated. We decided I would take a week and a half to two weeks completely off and then see if I was recovered.

Returning to Running After Covid

To give an idea of my typical return to training after a break, I usually jump into 20-30 miles the first week progressing to 60-70 miles by 4 weeks with light workouts starting at the 3-week mark. At my peak training I run between 100-120 miles/week. (Keep in mind it has taken me years to build up to this and my body typically responds well to high mileage). My return since taking a break after Covid has been quite different. My first week back I ran (drumroll please)… 4.5 miles. No, that decimal point isn’t a typo. I attempted a couple of runs, both slow and on flat pavement, both of which I had to end before the 3-mile mark because my heart rate quickly increased above 160 bpm signaling that I needed more rest. The next week I nearly doubled that mileage with 8.5 miles, still slower than normal and flat. I ran 3 days, being sure to space them out, and felt slightly better with my heart rate staying below 150 bpm. The next week I was down at sea level and felt significantly better (I live and train at 7,000 ft). I even ran on trails with some incline for the first time. I continued keeping a close eye on my heart rate and checking in with how I felt, and I was able to run 30 miles that week. The next week, back up at elevation I was able to run 35 miles for the week (though on a run in which I attempted some elevation, my heart rate climbed too high and I had to stop). This past week was my fifth week of training, and I’m feeling close to normal and running close to my pre-Covid easy run paces. I hit 45 miles for the week, all of which has been easy mileage with no hard running. Working with my coach, we plan to continue this gradual increase eventually adding in speed work as long as I remain symptom free.

My return to training after Covid hasn’t been perfect but I’ve certainly learned a lot. In sharing this, I hope others can learn from my experience. There are a few take-aways I want to highlight for runners and coaches to consider when returning to training.

  • First, healthy runners can be just as susceptible to Covid as the general population. Sometimes being fit gives us the illusion we’re immune to illness. Although exercise can improve our immune system it does not make us bulletproof. Safety is just as important for runners.
  • Another consideration is that many runners will push and train through a cold or mild sickness with no consequences. Covid should not be treated this way. It’s not healthy or smart to train while symptomatic no matter how mild the symptoms. I had to take this advice myself when my only symptom was an increased heart rate and I wanted to keep running!
  • There are other symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest tightness which can remain for weeks, even months after Covid. Running while symptomatic can prolong the body’s healing process and delay recovery.
  • There is also a chance (though not enough evidence yet to be conclusive) that running while symptomatic can cause long term lung and heart conditions. It’s simply not worth the risk.
  • An additional consideration when returning to training post-Covid is that paces may need to be considerably slower and hills may be more challenging than usual. It took weeks before I was able to run uphill, and I’m just now hitting my normal paces.
  • Almost all runners have a GPS watch and it can be a great tool to track heart rate. If you don’t have a GPS watch you can stop every 5-10 minutes and check your pulse manually. I actually prefer to do this every once in awhile to verify the accuracy of my watch.
  • The final and most important consideration is if symptoms persist after Covid, it’s advisable to see your doctor for additional testing, especially before returning to running.

Our body enables us to run and it’s important to honor and take care of it. Taking the necessary time to recover and heal from Covid or any other illness will ensure you can continue to enjoy running, and stay healthy for the long haul.

Georgia Porter is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about her or to work with Coach Georgia, check out her coaching page.

Lessons Learned the Hard Way with Coach Jamie Ness

After roughly a quarter century of running and a decade of coaching, I have accumulated a lot of experience with putting one foot in front of the other. Not all of that experience has been pleasant. While we all strive for success, it is the failures that teach us valuable lessons and give us perspective. In this article I hope to share a little running wisdom, so that you might gain from my losses.

Training And Masochism Are Not The Same

We all know how hard you work and how much pain you’re willing to endure play huge roles in how successful we are at this sport. However, many of us over-simplify and even romanticize this concept. Pain does not necessarily equal glory. You are training to produce a great race performance, not to see how much you can suffer. Train smarter not harder or you will be watching your “lazy” friend’s butt disappear into the horizon on race day.

Have A Plan, Have A Coach

Just winging it will never produce consistent long-term gains. Only a well thought out, progressive plan that follows the basic principles of training will do that. Sometimes even those with knowledge have a very difficult time coaching themselves. I’ve known many high quality coaches over the years that struggled with their own training because they can’t separate the coach and athlete within themselves. The guys that have more success will at the very least discuss their training with another quality coach.

Training Plans Are Not Set In Stone

My personality dictates that any plans I make will be followed through. Sometimes this is not rational or productive. As a coach I understand that training plans must be flexible. Things change, sometimes without a moment’s notice. If you want to get the best out of yourself you must use all of the information at your disposal, not all of the information you had when the training plan was produced. I call this the GPS approach. Your GPS will plan a route for you as soon as you’re in the car. Sometimes this is the best route and you have an easy drive. However, sometimes you have to make an unplanned stop, detour to avoid construction, or you even change your destination. In these cases you have to change your GPS setting (training plan) to find the new best route. Anytime you write a workout plan, remind yourself that the “conditions on the ground” might force you to change plans.

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

You will run slower and need to adjust your nutrition and hydration if you are running in 85 degree weather when you are used to 50 degree weather. Weather is out of your control. Don’t get bent out of shape about it, make the proper adjustments and move on. Minor inconveniences and circumstances that are out of your control are nothing to lose your cool over. A hardy runner will adjust and overcome, even if that means doing something you don’t want to do, like running slower.

These Things Are Not Small Stuff

Hydration, nutrition, sleep, and stretching are not little things although we often refer to them that way. Your body will not function properly much less optimally without ample water and electrolytes. You are quite literally what you eat. Half of training is the work or stress you put on your body. The other half is recovering to allow adaptations. Sleep is a huge part of the recovery half. Stretching, rolling, and massaging are not only for flexibility and mobility, but help keep your body properly aligned. None of this stuff is small. Neglect them at your peril.

Relax Ahead Of Races

Very few people in the United States are racing to make a living. Most of us race because we think it’s fun or derive some sort of pleasure from it. So relax ahead of your races and allow yourself to have fun with it. Being uptight expends a lot of energy and I’ve found in the vast majority of my great races I was pretty jovial. In the vast majority of my bad races I thought of them as life and death. Yet I’m still alive to write this article. Take a clue from the great Usain Bolt, or contemporary Noah Lyles, relax and have fun.

Relax In Races

While we’re on the topic of relaxation, I call it the one trick to athletic performance. It is not easy to relax while putting forth a great effort through a lot of pain. Those than can pull this off are more efficient and just perform better. I can recall laughing, joking and waving in the early stages of many of my best races. You get good at relaxing just like you would any other skill, by practice. Laugh and chat on your easy runs, breathe deep, keep your shoulders and cheeks loose and your hands loose enough that you could hold a potato chip without breaking it.

Don’t Be Cheap

I don’t want you to spend recklessly because I actually find that to be ridiculous, but being cheap will not help you improve as a runner. Wear good shoes that are not worn out. Eat good, nutritious food. Get your logistics worked out for race day. Don’t drive 3 hours before your 7am race or stay in a roach motel an hour from the start line, take an unfamiliar bus route and expect to arrive at the proper place and time.

Listen To Your Body

This is something I always heard and never quite understood as a young runner. I thought it was an excuse to be soft. Now that I understand the meaning it is a powerful tool. Your body will give you subtle and not so subtle clues that it is breaking down or about to crash. If you are having a lot of aches and pains, one particular pain is getting worse, or you feel bad on every run, those are all clues you need to pay attention to. It might mean you need to rest or back off training. It could be you need to change shoes or clean up your form. It could also mean you need to treat that nagging injury instead of ignoring it.

Keep a training log and track your heart rate across runs of the same intensity and your resting heart rate when you wake in the morning. When those numbers go up chronically you might need to change as it can be a sign of fatigue and stress. You should also monitor your effort across different paces. When formerly easy pace now feels moderate, moderate feels hard, and hard feels impossible, your body is trying to tell you something, so pay attention.

You Must Allow For Recovery

Hard workouts and races test your will and take a lot out of you physically. You must recover from the efforts, mentally, physically and emotionally if you want to keep progressing. Sometimes the period right after a great run is the hardest period to pull back and it is not unusual to see injuries in that period for that reason. Fatigue can even slowly accumulate over long periods of time and sneak up on you. It can be difficult to know when to pull back – experience and a good coach can help. Most people think of coaches as pushing them, but often a coach’s number one job is holding the reins on a motivated athlete. Another way to combat over-training is to keep a training log, that includes as much information about each run as you can tolerate recording.

Identify Don’t Deny Injuries

Injuries don’t just happen. Over-use injuries are just that: over-use. Acute injuries of course can be freak accidents but we are certainly more susceptible to them in a fatigued state or under prepared state. When injury strikes, identify it, don’t deny it. Do your best to understand the injury so you can prevent the recurrence. You are allowed to mourn the loss of your season for a short time but you need to move on quickly to recovery and rehabilitation.

Training through serious injuries will eventually take a massive toll away from your race performance and suck all the fun out of the sport. It also usually leads to a cycle of injuries as you over-compensate for one injury causing another and another and another. Break the cycle the first time by properly treating and recovering.

Cross-training Isn’t Running But Sometimes It Is Better

To be good at running, you should run. However there are times that cross-training can be extremely beneficial. You can maintain a very high level of base fitness while injured if you take cross-training seriously. You can also build initial fitness after a layoff very quickly by using cross-training. Running is hard on a body but the pool, bike and elliptical trainers will allow you build a lot of cardiovascular and muscular endurance with minimal wear and tear. Remember that cross-training can be over-done as well, but if you build it up responsibly and back it off once your running increases it is a safe way to boost fitness quickly.

Run Soft

If soft surfaces are an option take advantage of it. I have personally found that 70 miles per week on grass and dirt feels the same or even a little better than 45 miles per week on asphalt and concrete.


When being chased by dogs kicking your heels up high as if you are trying to kick your own rear end can provide a small measure of safety. Prepare yourself for contact and when the dog gets too close or tries to nip or attack you he will be repelled by a quick kick in the chin. This shouldn’t cause any serious harm to the pooch but it will most likely give up the chase. This is far better than the alternative of getting tangled up, tackled or bitten.

Live In The Present

Don’t agonize and over-analyze the past or the future. I have lost sleep and beaten myself up too much over what I should have done. Woulda, shoulda, coulda simply don’t matter. Be proud of what you have accomplished and remember the lessons you learned along the way, otherwise the past is gone.

Be intentional, realistic and honest with your future goals. Once you know what you want, get after it. Worrying and second-guessing are not productive. Enjoy the present and the process. You have to put in the work to get the success you desire, so focus on the task at hand or life will pass you by.

Be Careful With Direct Comparisons To The Past

This is especially true for older runners but applies to everyone. We are always changing along with our environments and matching workouts from the past won’t necessarily yield the same result. In many cases attempting to match the past is not a good idea to begin with. Be the best you can be now which probably doesn’t mean the same thing it did 20 years ago and might not even be the same as 1 year ago. Don’t read this as you are old and slow and give up on PRs, I’m simply saying it’s 2020 and your current path to success is very likely different than the path you took previous years. Think GPS approach.

Love Running Don’t Be Defined By It

This doesn’t mean you have to love running to be successful, because that simply isn’t true. I do think it is necessary to love some aspect of running for long-term success, but the focus here is those who do love the sport. When you love anything it can distort your perception and tie into your identity. So, love your running but you have to come to terms with failures and disappointments. You have to understand that a poor race result or injury doesn’t reduce your worth as a person. We should be judged by others based on our character and our deeds. We should judge ourselves the same way.

Jamie Ness is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach Jamie, check out his coaching page.

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What Not Running Taught Me About Running with Coach Tyler Sprague

For many of us, running is tightly interwoven with our identities. Without it, it can be easy to lose our sense of self and everything else may feel like it’s starting to come apart at the seams. Even the routine of running, the rhythm of the day, and the exertion that helps us fall asleep at night can come to be habit forming. This enmeshment often goes unnoticed, until we no longer can or choose to run. This year has not exactly been my best, running-wise. Between moving to a new place in the middle of the country with a lot less trails, hills, and community, battling endless dark, wintry days, a mystifyingly lackluster training block that culminated in my goal race being cancelled, and of course the ubiquitous lockdowns, it just felt like nothing was going my way. With 2020 races falling like dominoes, the landscape of our sport was changing before my eyes. Eventually, all these factors converged and it became too much; I lost the will to run. I didn’t want to log in to Strava, I didn’t want to see people running (happily) on Instagram, and I certainly didn’t feel like lacing up my shoes for the sake of checking a box on my training log.

What I Learned

  • When I finally threw in the towel, it felt like a crushing but inevitable defeat of my willpower by larger conspiring forces. Don’t let it get to that point! If you start to notice a lack of mojo in your running or life, commit to an honest assessment of how you spend your time, and evaluate if you’re still getting out what you put in. Our hobbies and passions should feel rewarding; we don’t have to be slaves to them!
  • It’s okay to give running a rest if you’re not enjoying it anymore, even if everyone else seems to be having fun and their training is going well. Don’t feel guilty that you’re not. We all feel like this at times and it’s natural to experience fluctuations in interest and energy. Just don’t keep banging your proverbial head against the wall. After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.
  • A reset can be a net benefit for you and the health of your relationship to the sport. The lost fitness or time will be marginal and the boost to emotional wellbeing and motivation and drive will pay dividends down the road in terms of longevity and positive attitude. Sowing a small concession now can mean reaping a large reward later! It’s important to stay grateful and remeber why you run in the first place, which leads me to the next point:
  • Running is not all all about competition and racing; it’s typically a deeply personal, solo endeavor for most. If you feel inspired to virtually race and connect with the larger online community, by all means do, but don’t feel pressured to. I was not. FKTs and the like can be great, especially as many of us found ourselves in or near peak condition when races started dropping like flies, but it’s also okay to acknowledge that you’ve lost your appetite!
  • Time not running can be spent doing other things. You may find or rediscover a long-lost friend; for me it was drawing. I used to love art, but over the years, serious training left me chronically fatigued and chipped away at my other hobbies. I was reminded that it takes diligence to keep them alive and juggle with one so physically demanding as running.
  • Allowing your energy to be fully restored can also be great for hormonal health and balancing biorhythms and cycles like sleep or meal times. The longer days right now lend themselves to excellent naps! Outdoor movement and other activities like cycling, climbing, or swimming are always fun and can help diversify our time and exercise; this hedges bets against future burnout and is one of the most significant benefits of cross training. If you do decide to let running take a backseat to the rest of life for awhile, you may be surprised to find how much time in the day there actually is for family, kids, cooking, or nurturing other pursuits and passions.
  • If and when you do run, it can be for different reasons than usual. I’m normally a pretty solitary runner, but have experimented of late with more social runs. This can place you in settings or with people you wouldn’t normally run with due to differences in fitness or training plans not synching up. Maybe you have “non-runner” friends who are interested in trying it out, or maybe people in your local running community or family that look up to you. Do it for them.

The Path Forward

I don’t want to make it sound like I hung up my shoes and got real cozy with the couch; I didn’t. All told, I ended up putting down structured training for about 4 weeks. I still ran, between 22-35 miles per week, although it didn’t feel like it with how many rest days I allowed myself. At first, it felt like I was allowing my work ethic and moral fiber to decay, but soon I settled into my new gentle, organic flow. Most days I still ran or did some calisthenics outside, but if I hadn’t gotten around to it yet by the time dinner rolled around, I didn’t stress or try to cram a run in. With a relaxed grip on the need to run daily, I stopped considering my weekly mileage, with very little thought to forward progress, Strava, or fitness; just my holistic wellness.

Having the time and space to stop being so wrapped up in one thing and let life happen was such a gift that I’m so glad I was able to give myself. Now, I am renewed and feeling like I’m in a much better place with a newfound appreciation for what running does for me, and also what I should not expect it to do for me. It is not a measure of your self worth or a tool for comparison to others; it is a cherished gift! If you find yourself in a similar straits, ease back, look around, take a moment and a few breaths, and ask yourself — just maybe, would you like to not run today?

Tyler Sprague is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach Tyler, check out his coaching page.

flagstaff running coach
Photo: @runnerteri

running while pregnant

Running While Pregnant and Running Postpartum

We asked several of the mom coaches on the team for their input on what it was like running during pregnancy and running postpartum. We were all first-time moms at some point, learning to juggle running and pregnancy and then running and momming, and I myself found it particularly helpful to read about others’ experiences so I could help shape my own. Keep in mind these are personal stories, not medical advice, so talk to your doctor, listen to your body, and make your own decisions. Everyone is different, as you’ll see, but we all have something in common – we’re all moms and we’re all runners. ~Julie Urbanski


Anita Campbell

Annelie Stockton

Ashley Nordell

Julie Urbanski

Megan Gayman

Anita Campbell

seattle running coach

How long did you run while pregnant?

I ran on a pretty normal schedule through the 5 month mark. I went in with no expectations and simply committed to going with the flow. If running was something I wasn’t enjoying anymore for one reason or another, I simply wouldn’t run. At 5 months I ran the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon with my dad. He was hoping to run around 1:40 so the plan was to run with him and try to pace him through it. The end result was 1:38. I felt great and ran completely within myself, but I remember when I finished I had the thought “this is the first time I’ve noticed a significant change in how my body felt while running”. I never really ran over 30 minutes after that point in time. I only ran to get moving and get some fresh air. Once I hit about 8 months, I pretty much stopped running. It was never a conscious decision, but it just didn’t feel good to me to be running anymore at a certain point. I’d have aches and discomfort afterwards that didn’t feel great so I’d opt for a walk instead.

What time of year were you running?

I was mainly running in Spring/Summer.  I’ve never been great about hydrating, but that was something I focused on more because I was pregnant.

What changes did you make to your running routine throughout the pregnancy?  

I really took it one day at a time. I knew things would change, but I didn’t know when and how much they would change. I also know that everyone is different and their experience and circumstances are different. So I didn’t try to plan ahead, I instead focused on getting outside each day and paying attention to how I felt before, during and after. There’s an enormous hill outside of our house and I usually start my runs by going up it (to get it over with!)…and I can remember one day when I started chugging up the hill to start my run. I was breathing much harder than normal and my heart rate seemed to be going through the roof. It’s not my style to ever stop in a run, and I definitely had an internal debate in my mind whether I should stop or not…but I reminded myself that this is a day to day endeavor and that I needed to listen to my body. So I stopped and started walking and continued on for 45 min – I never did run that day. Maturity in action!

Any changes in diet?  


What changes in your body affected you the most?  

First of all (sorry if this grosses anyone out haha!), I pee’d my pants every time I ran from about 5 months and on. The first time it happened was in my half marathon and I couldn’t believe it. I’d never had that issue before in my life, but there I was every step, my shorts got a little more soaked. Thank goodness I wore black. The only other issue I had was some pelvic discomfort after I ran which eventually stopped me from running the last couple months. I probably could have run through it, but it wasn’t worth it to me. At that point I was enjoying a walk as much as a run so I found other ways to be active and get outside.

Any tips you’d give to newly pregnant runners?

From my experience, I think it’s really important to trust yourself. There are a lot of people with opinions and comments on running during pregnancy and they will undoubtedly throw them your way, but in the end if you listen to your body and don’t run through any consistent discomfort you will be just fine. YOU know how YOU feel – as long as you listen to that you get to write your own plan that will evolve – go with the flow, have fun and do what you can without going overboard.

If you didn’t run, anything you did instead that worked/didn’t work for you?  

Casual walks once I stopped running.

When were you able to start running again?  

6 weeks after I went for my first 15min run (it was slow and scary). A couple days later a friend talked me into running the Seattle Jingle Bell Run 5k in an elf costume and I couldn’t say no (it went better than expected – and we jingled all the way!).  

How were those first few weeks, months of running?

It was really slow going. As with pregnancy, I went into my return to post-partum running with no expectations and vowed to listen to my body and take it day by day. While I did run a 5k 6 weeks post-partum…things didn’t move quickly from there. Thankfully, I was gifted an awesome BOB stroller to run around town in but as most new parents know it’s not recommended you run with your kiddo until they’re strong enough to support themselves and sit in the stroller without the carseat. It’s really difficult to find the time to get out on your own – there’s so much going on and running seemed to be the last thing on my mind a lot of the time, which was OK! If I learned anything in those early months, it’s that pushing around those strollers is a workout in itself. So an hour, hour and a half walk will still do a lot for your mind, body and soul early on. I have a friend who helped me with my pee problem (it’s a problem) and provided me with strengthening exercises specific to mom’s post-partum (plug for Kailey at Magnolia PT! 🙂 ). I recommend visiting a PT in the first few months to all new mom’s getting back into their fitness routines!

When did you run your first goal race after giving birth?  

I’m 13 months out and haven’t set my sights on a specific race just yet, but I have run a few 5k’s in the last year. I will be training with the BOB when the time comes and I’m sure I’ll be stronger mentally and physically because of it – Team #MakeItWork over here 🙂

How do you figure out childcare so you can work towards consistency?

I bring baby with me everywhere (even to the XC and running club practices I coach at). If there’s a will there’s a way! Don’t be afraid to ask a friend, family member to watch your kiddo when you’re in a pinch – worst they can say is no!

Did you have any expectations of your running improving postpartum? (There’s lot of evidence out there showing some women improve after childbirth)  

I’ve heard about this evidence! I remember reading about marathoners who made Olympic teams within a year of having their kids. Holy Smokes. Let’s just say this was NOT me in any way, shape or form. But again, everyone is different. What I do believe is that everyone can be stronger and faster than they were before, however long that takes is different for everyone. Things were slow going for me early on, but once I reached the 10 month mark I started to feel more like myself. While I haven’t trained for anything specifically, I’m confident that if I did I would be just as fast if not faster than I was the year before I had my son. Having a kiddo makes you prioritize and focus!

Anything that was especially helpful in getting back into running?

A good running stroller is essential.

seattle running coach track

Located in Seattle, Washington, Coach Anita specializes in beginner to advanced runners, both on the roads and the track, having run track and cross country at the University of Washington. She has a 33:40 10k PR and a 1:22 half marathon PR, and can incorporate strength training and nutrition, along with returning to running programs and racing strategies. Check out her coach bio for more details.

Annelie Stockton

running while pregnant
Photo: Bloomsday Run

How long did you run while pregnant?

Running during both of my pregnancies was very similar. The first trimester of both pregnancies was difficult. I felt tired all the time and just talking myself into getting out the door was exhausting. Once I mustered up the energy to get going I found that I ended up feeling a lot better. What I found helpful was telling myself things like “you don’t have to go far, you don’t have to go fast, it’s ok to walk.” After the first trimester I felt so much better and resumed my normal running routine (5-6 days a week, about 40-50 miles per week). As my bump started to grow my mileage decreased and my pace slowed (about 2-3 minutes per mile). Running during pregnancy kept me healthy and happy, and I was able to run up until the day I went into labor with both pregnancies.

What time of year were you running?

During my first pregnancy I was running from June-March. During the winter months I mostly ran on the treadmill not to risk slipping on ice.

My second pregnancy was October-July. At this time I was living in Spokane WA, where we have very hot summers! I had to be careful during the summer months not to get too overheated.

What changes did you make to your running routine throughout the pregnancy?

I did have any rules, I ran as far and fast as I wanted on each given day, and if I needed a break that was ok!

Any changes in diet?

During both pregnancies I had acid reflex, I had to be careful what I ate before a run and make sure I didn’t eat too close to a run. Some things I couldn’t have were peanut butter, apples, and coffee.

What changes in your body affected you the most?

Boobs LOL, I went from a B to a DD, fast! This was something I was not used to with running. It was painful and I had a problem with chafing.

At first I was really nervous and self conscious about running while pregnant, especially in the later months when my bump was definitely noticeable. I had quite a few random people tell me it wasn’t healthy, that it was bad for the baby, etc. I realized not to care what other people think, running made my happy, made pregnancy better, and helped me with larbor/delivery/recovery. If you can’t run, I think walking and or cross training is a great option. Talk with your doctor, they will tell you what is ok!  

spokane running coach
Photo: Jon Jonckers

When were you able to start running again?

Both pregnancies I was about to start running again at 3.5 weeks. The first few runs back were only a mile of 1 minute jog 1 minute walk. Once I started feeling better and ready for more the duration of running increased and I took 3-4 days rest between my runs.

How were those first few weeks, months of running?

Those first few weeks of running were awkward and uncomfortable. My body changed so much during pregnancy and I got used to running a certain way, I felt like I had to start over with my form. I focused on adding form drills and strengthening routine (Daily Dozen I found that really helpful in getting my body back to feeling more normal.

When did you run your first goal race after giving birth?

My first race back after my first pregnancy was 7 months later and first race back after my second pregnancy was 5 months later.

How do you figure out childcare so you can work towards consistency?  

On days when my husband can’t watch the kids I will either run with the stroller or go to my gym that has childcare and run on the treadmill.

Did you have any expectations of your running improving postpartum?

Yes and no. Before pregnancy, I had sciatica off and on for months at a time which made it difficult to train. Luckily for me, during and after pregnancy I haven’t had this issue anymore! So because of this I have been able to train more consistently, after my first pregnancy I was able to PR in the half marathon, and after my second pregnancy I was about to run my first full marathon and PR in the 15k. I also think, if you are able to run or cross train during pregnancy it can only help you in the long run. During pregnancy you can still build you endurance, speed, and become a stronger runner!

spokane running coach annelie stockton team runrun
Photo: Jon Jonckers

Located in Spokane, Washington, Coach Annelie specializes in beginner runners, yoga for runners, injury prevention, pregnancy and postpartum running. She has a 1:25 half marathon PR and a 3:10 full marathon PR, and coaches beginners on the road and track in distances up to the half marathon. To learn more about Annelie, check out her coach bio.

Ashley Nordell

superior 100 race report
Photo: Todd Rowe

How long did you run while pregnant?

For both my pregnancies I could only run the first 20 weeks. For my first daughter it was due to medical reasons, and with my second daughter I got weird cramps every time I tried to run right around 18 weeks (this actually started with my first daughter too, but I was told to stop anyway for other reasons, so I never knew if it would have improved over time.) I always envisioned myself being that person who is 8 months pregnant and still running, so it was hard to accept that my pregnancy was going to be very different than how I had imagined. My first pregnancy was very stressful, and running was how I always dealt with anxiety, so it was extra hard to not be able to run and sort out the worries we were dealing with with that pregnancy. I exercised through both my pregnancies- once I couldn’t run I biked, cross country skied, swam, and walked. I had to stop all exercise the final three weeks before my first daughter was born because I was on bed rest.

What time of year were you running?

I had a May and August baby, so I ran through winter and spring. I only did one short race (knowingly) while pregnant, but I actually found out I was pregnant with my first daughter after a 50k and my second daughter after running my years in miles for my birthday, so in reality I ran ultras with both girls, though that was not planned.

What changes did you make to your running routine throughout the pregnancy?

I ran by feel, took it easy, and was extra careful on the technical trails.

Any changes in diet?

Took out the coffee and wine. The coffee was harder to give up. I felt nauseous the first trimester of both, and different foods felt good at the time, so my diet sort of changed based on what sounded good (and didn’t!)

What changes in your body affected you the most?

My stomach – the weird cramping I got with both girls right around the half way mark.

Any tips you’d give to newly pregnant runners?

I think the biggest is to not compare yourself with others. Luckily with my first daughter, I was not on any social media while pregnant, so I did not see all the pictures of gals with baby bumps out running and have that as a comparison tool. But every person and pregnancy is different, and you have to do what is right for you.

If you didn’t run, anything you did instead that worked/didn’t work for you?

Any sort of exercise helped me feel a bit more myself. I did what the doctors allowed and what felt good to me.

When were you able to start running again?

With both my daughters I had C Sections. The first one was after 32 hours of induced labor and was a quick emergency C Section, so I felt like that one took a bigger toll on my body. Though with my second daughter, I had a new born baby AND a three year old, so I was not able to recover as well post surgery trying to meet everyone’s needs. I started running again 6 weeks postpartum, but interestingly with both, I quickly had issues due to the relaxin in my body. With my first daughter, I had knee issues for a few weeks shortly after I started running and with my second, it was back issues. So it took about 2.5 months before I was able to get more into a groove. I bounced back significantly faster after my first daughter than my second.

How were those first few weeks, months of running?

So hard. Looking back, I am actually glad I was not able to run during my whole pregnancy because it gave me a forced rest period that I think helped me in the long run. I paced my friend Darla Askew for 25 miles of Waldo 100k three months post first baby and it was a terrible idea. I struggled so hard to keep up, had no idea how to pump while running, and I finished pacing that race feeling like a total failure. A month later I started to feel so much stronger. I just jumped back too soon.

When did you run your first goal race after giving birth?

First baby, I ran a trail half marathon 4 weeks post baby, followed a week later by a marathon. I actually felt great and had two super strong runs. With my second baby there is no way I would have been ready for those races 4 months post baby. My first BIG race after my first daughter was Leona Divide 50, 10 months post baby. I was super nervous about it because I was not even sure I could run 50 miles, and ended up having a great race and getting a golden ticket to WS, so I ended up running a 100 a bit sooner that I was planning (12 months post baby.) It was probably one of my best 100s, largely due to me being so conservative and relaxed I ended up running smarter than I might have if it had been a planned goal race. The training for and racing ultras while nursing was probably the biggest challenge I had. My husband would meet me on long runs with my daughter so I could nurse and then keep running. But even more than the logistics was the guilt in being gone for very long while I had a baby. I could not really relax and always felt like I needed to be home.

How did you figure out childcare?

This was a hard one. I never really was super comfortable using sitters when my girls were little. I used my parents or my husband’s mom when she was visiting, but I tried to do more of my training early, pushing a stroller, or when my husband was available to watch the kids.

Any running improvement postpartum?

Not sure. I felt really good from about 4-18 months post baby with my first, but then I had a really rough next year (first and only two DNFs in my 16 years of ultras), and wonder if I did too much too soon. I was way more aware of this after my second daughter and became more selective in how much I raced while nursing. Its interesting, but I actually felt like I raced my best while nursing – it also kept my weight super low while eating whatever I wanted, so not sure if that was related. I did not have the same phenomenon as much with my second daughter, but with my first, I had a magical 9 or so months of feeling super strong. The downside though was being able to eat enough while racing 100s, because nursing made me need to eat so much more, but I struggle to eat in ultras. The sleep deprivation was never a benefit either!!

Anything that was especially helpful in getting back into running?

A breastpump and running stroller!!

sisters running coach ashley nordell

Located in Sisters, Oregon, Coach Ashley specializes in beginner to advanced runners on the road and on the trails, including new moms getting back into training. She’s run over 60 ultramarathons and has at least 8 course records to her name, along with a Top 10 Western States 100 finish and a 3rd place Leadville 100 finish. To learn more about Ashley, check out her coach bio.

Julie Urbanski

rocky raccoon 50

How long did you run while pregnant?

For the first pregnancy, I made it 16 weeks. The first trimester was fairly easy for me to run through, as I had very few signs of pregnancy other than fatigue, so I still ran ~40 miles a week with a long run of about 10-12 miles. No nausea or anything and even though a run tired me out, I could just take a nap or catch up on the weekends since I didn’t have any other kids already. I started getting a little bump around the 16 week mark and we went on a week vacation where it was harder to keep up my routine, and that’s mainly how I fell off. By the time we got home, I had lost my mojo for running much longer and started to get scared about tripping and falling, and each run became a little more uncomfortable and slower each time.

The second pregnancy has been a whole different story, especially with having a toddler as well (I’m 24 weeks pregnant as I write this). I had nausea the first trimester and vertigo from about 6-8 weeks, where I could barely stand, much less run or walk, so all running screeched to a halt. After the vertigo passed, I resumed running but really cut down the distance and aimed for frequency. My goal was 5k a day for however long I could keep that up. The fatigue factor was for real that first trimester as well, as I’d run 3 miles and need a 45 minute nap afterwards, which with a toddler was rarely possible. I think it was that much more tiring because I couldn’t just rest or nap after a run with a little one to chase all over the place. I ended up napping just as much as my 2.5 year old when he napped midday. I also started showing way sooner with #2, which I wasn’t expecting, even though I heard that happened, so at 14 weeks I already felt big, we were in the thick of moving from Seattle to Boulder, CO, and my running quickly dwindled.

Both pregnancies, I totally thought I’d run longer! I always pictured myself as someone who would run as long as possible, but once that bump came in and the rest of my body started to change in preparation of growing and birthing a human, all expectations were out the window.

What time of year were you running?

With the first pregnancy I was running mainly through spring and summer. My main concern was getting overheated on a run, so I was careful to run early in the day and rarely at midday. There was only one long run, a 10 miler, that I started too late in the morning and really regretted because it really warmed up. I slowed down on the second half of the run and increased my fluids intake, and rested the rest of the day after that one.

With my second, I got pregnant in June, so again, running mainly through summer and a little in the fall, so just making sure I never overheated. I stopped running before winter came on both pregnancies, so no real hazards like snow and ice.

What changes did you make to your running routine throughout the pregnancy?

I read a lot about other women maintaining speed workouts throughout and while I was tempted to keep up my regular routine with workouts, to me, it wasn’t worth any risks of overexerting myself. I kept up the frequency as much as I could for both pregnancies, aiming for 5-6 days a week, but mileage and intensity gradually decreased over time. My pace naturally slowed as well and so with feeling more uncomfortable with a bump, slowing down, and doing less miles, the routine sort of naturally took care of itself.

Any changes in diet?

I never had any major cravings with the first pregnancy and didn’t have nausea, so not much changed with the first one. I was eating a vegan diet pre-pregnancy and incorporated eggs and greek yogurt while pregnant, both of which tasted really good, so I went with it. This second time around I had major nausea and food aversions based on smell, so whatever smelled good is what I ate! I’ve kept a vegan diet so far on this one and mainly only crave avocados and anything with potatoes. I’ve had a hard time stomaching kale. And goodness, do I miss coffee!

What changes in your body affected you the most?

The one thing I didn’t really understand until I was pregnant myself is that it’s more than just a growing belly. Your whole body is adjusting and preparing for growing a human and for giving birth. It’s a really big deal! There’s a reason we’re tired a lot! I pictured myself running far through pregnancy because I didn’t know that you had to account for so many more changes than just that bump. I call it the 3 growing B’s – Boobs, Belly, and Butt, and all 3 grew significantly for me! That’s a lot to account for not only in regular life, but also in running. None of my sports bras fit any more while pregnant and we’re not even talking breastfeeding yet (I’m normally barely an A cup, so imagine my shock when I go into Victoria’s Secret for a new bra after 14 weeks and they tell me I’m a C cup!). I found it hard to find the right running clothes to account for my bump yet still support it, and that butt, oh man, so different than the flat distance runner’s butt. This second pregnancy I finally bought maternity underwear and I’m so glad I did! I can’t believe I held out this long!

Any tips you’d give to newly pregnant runners?

Drop all expectations and just go with the flow. If you can’t run, at least move, whether it’s walking, swimming, hiking, etc. If you can keep up your regular routine, then great, and if it stops abruptly because of life circumstances or health, then so be it. Be kind to yourself, your body, and that growing human inside of you, because in the grand scheme of things, the time that you are pregnant is such a small blip on the screen, that it will be over before you know it.

If you didn’t run, anything you did instead that worked/didn’t work for you?

Once I stopped running in the first pregnancy, I got a pedometer and tracked my steps, aiming for 10,000 steps each day. That usually meant about 4-5 miles for me, so I made sure I walked that every day, without fail. I loved it. I usually broke up the miles between walking during my work lunch break and then walking after work. I ended up calling my mom on most evening walks to just catch up, and it was often my favorite part of the day, since I could never talk on the phone while running. I walked 10,000 steps all the way until my due date, as I remember taking a 4 mile walk on a Sunday, my water broke that night, and my son was born the next morning.

This second pregnancy has been much harder to keep any kind of routine going. I walk 30-60 minutes when I make the time for it, which is admittedly only a few days a week. I’d love to be walking more, but with a 3 year old at home and other stuff to stay busy, it’s been hard.

When were you able to start running again?

I had a surprise C-Section with the first one, so I started much later than I originally envisioned. At around 8 weeks I felt comfortable walking and then at 12 weeks I started a run/walk routine, starting out with 1 minute of running, 1 minute of walking. Wow, it felt like running through mud and thick sand. Not sure if that’s starting late or not given a C-Section, but it was the earliest I felt comfortable doing it given how major of a surgery a C-Section is and all the recovery that goes into it.

I’m hoping for a VBAC this second time around, but I’m also fully prepared for another C-Section, so I’m not even setting a timeline goal for this one!

How were those first few weeks, months of running?

Those first few weeks were really difficult, both mentally and physically. None of my clothes really fit very well, I was so slow, and so sleep deprived! And I was still breastfeeding quite a bit, so I had to completely revamp my sports bra wardrobe, as my boobs were beyond a D cup and leaked a ton. I swear I could have fed triplets with my milk supply. It was hard to be in a sports bra more than 30 minutes with how uncomfortable it would get, so long runs were out of the picture for a long time.

By about 5 months, I was regularly running 3-5 miles and just aiming for consistency. Mentally, I dreaded any kind of long run so I didn’t fight it and just kept it short and frequent. From about 6-9 months, I was running around 5-7 miles, 5-6 days a week, and that’s when I really started feeling like I was getting my normal running rhythm again. I still wasn’t doing workouts but around 8 months I started getting back into long runs, doing anywhere from 10-15 miles. My boobs were still screaming for freedom by the end of those long runs, but I could usually go 2-3 hours max and still be ok.

When did you run your first goal race after giving birth?

Around 7-8 months I signed up for the Columbus marathon (Ohio), which was 10 months postpartum. I had done a few long runs of 10+ miles and felt good, and wanted a goal race to aim for, just for distance. I knew my time would be way off my PR and it definitely was! I really enjoyed running the race just to run it and enjoy it. It was the longest time I was away from my son on race day since his birth!

When my son was 13 months I ran a 50k which went super well, and then at 14 months I ran a 50 mile, Rocky Raccoon, and really struggled mentally, as I just wasn’t into it. I also had major nausea, both issues being a little worrisome, as I was a training run for a 100 miler a couple months later. When I ran the Umstead 100 miler in April (16 months postpartum), I dropped at 50 miles. It was mainly for mental reasons and physically, I felt nauseous the whole time. I had a hard time convincing myself push for that long and since then I’ve had zero desire for another ultra. I’ve done 3 other road marathons since then but none of them have been major goal races.

What’s surprised me the most about running since given birth is my motivation and the reasons I run. I’ve been motivated to run, to keep up consistency, and the stay in good shape and maintain a good weight, but beyond that, I haven’t found the motivation to race hard, to shoot for a PR (most notably the marathon, where I’d love to PR), or to run anything beyond 50 miles. When I was walking so much that first pregnancy, the thing I missed the most was the social aspect of running and being able to just chat away through a long run, so running with others and just being a part of races but not racing them has been way more gratifying than I originally expected. There hasn’t been much desire to train or race beyond a marathon, so that’s been a bit weird to get used to.

Since I’m mid-pregnancy now with #2, I can’t say what will happen this second time around in terms of timing and motivation towards different goals, so we’ll see!

How do you figure out childcare so you can work towards consistency?  

My husband and I both coach for Team RunRun, so we both work from home. We take turns throughout the day getting in our runs, our work, and anything else that needs to be done. Oftentimes it still means running early, running late, or squeezing it in during nap time, but we both respect each other’s runs and the need to get them done each day. What was harder for me was figuring out breastfeeding that first year. I didn’t pump, so I had to run right after a feeding, as that’s when my boobs were the smallest and least full, but that wasn’t always easy to time, and long runs were even harder to time.

Did you have any expectations of your running improving postpartum?

I had definitely read about this and had a secret hope of knocking out a marathon PR, but alas, nothing has come to fruition! I always knew in the back of my mind that we’d likely have a second kid (but definitely not a third!), so I’m wondering if after this pregnancy I’ll feel like I’m “free” from pregnancy and breastfeeding for good and can focus on a new PR, knowing I won’t have to account for another baby again.

Anything that was especially helpful in getting back into running?

As for training, aiming for consistency really resonated with me. I didn’t care if I ran 10 minutes or 10 miles, if I got out the door, that was a success. It was really hard to get out the door at first because I still felt so needed in those first 6 months when I was the sole food source, being the only one with the boobs! But damn that time alone was so good for me, to be in my own head, to sweat away the baby weight, and to feel so proud of myself by the end of each run. It helped I really didn’t worry about upcoming goals or races and just focused on getting my routine back and giving myself that daily time alone, where anyone on the street saw me as a runner, not as a new mom who was sleep deprived and unsure of what the hell I was doing. It felt good to put on the runner hat, so to speak, and to take off the mom hat, just for that brief time each day.

For clothing, I struggled a bit with what to wear at first given I still had weight to lose and had the C-section scar to think about. I didn’t invest in great sports bras, so that will change this second time around, but I did get a good pair of tights and shorts that had a nice, thick band around my lower abs and belly, so I felt supported yet not restrained. I have one pair of Lululemon tights that a friend gave me, and the belly band on them saved me, as well as the band on the Oiselle Long Roga shorts.

While we bought a running stroller, we barely used it for running and I used it a lot for walking. I just never found a good, comfortable stride will pushing a stroller, and twice I tweaked my knee while running with it, so that just never worked for me. Plus, I really liked the alone time on a run and wanted to keep my runs as simple as possible, without any distractions or mom duties.

Lastly, something I never really focused on was losing weight. I gained 40 pounds during my 1st pregnancy and am easily on track for that with #2, and while I lost about 15 pounds immediately after giving birth, I never focused on the rest. I just focused on consistency and the rest took care of itself. I was also scared of messing up my milk supply by focusing on weight loss, so I never risked it and thankfully had an amazing milk supply right up until we weaned at a year. When my son was 4 months we traveled abroad from 4-10 months and didn’t have a car, so we walked everywhere we went. I think coupling walking with running really helped with fitness and weight loss as well, and doing it really gradually. By the time my son was 9 months, I was close to my pre-pregnancy weight, within about 5-7 pounds, and then once we weaned him at a year the rest of the weight loss happened.

No idea if that will be the story the second time around, but most of all, I’ve learned that there’s only so much I can control, so just go with the flow, keep myself as rested as possible, and keep these little humans as well-fed, well-rested, and as safe as possible!

boulder running coach

Located in Boulder, Colorado, Coach Julie is also the Co-Founder of Team RunRun with Coach Matt Urbanski, and she specializes in beginners in distances up to the marathon. She’s run 29 marathons with a handful of ultras up to a 100 miler, and loves working with people looking to improve their half and full marathon PRs. To learn more about Julie, check out her coach bio.

Megan Gayman

seattle running coach megan gayman

How long did you run while pregnant?

I made it to about 20 weeks before it got too uncomfortable

What time of year were you running?

Winter into spring, but it was a very mild winter that year

What changes did you make to your running routine throughout the pregnancy?

I was more focused on CrossFit and was running lots of trails and random races, not truly training for PRs in running before I got pregnant so, the trails got nixed really quickly (plus it was winter so there weren’t that many opportunities) and I was jogging more to stay with it for a bit. I stopped running completely at 20 weeks and took to the Erg and crossfitted up until about 30 weeks.

Any changes in diet?

I cut out sushi and craved iced tea but that was about it

What changes in your body affected you the most?

The constant movement from inside was the biggest change that I disliked the most. My son was very active and quite the kicker. Gaining weight was also a big difference, I had never put that much more weight on my body before, gaining 20lbs felt odd and out of place for me.

Any tips you’d give to newly pregnant runners?

Realize that you’re breathing may be different. I was surprised at how quickly I would get winded. Go at your own pace and don’t feel pressure to run or not to run. It’s up to you. There are plenty of women on Instagram who don’t back off very much when they’re far into their pregnancies. That doesn’t have to be you if you don’t feel up to it. Nor do you have to stop all activity. Find your place and do not compare your journey with anyone else’s.

If you didn’t run, anything you did instead that worked/didn’t work for you?

Once I stopped running getting on the erg helped me a bit as well as modified CrossFit workouts

When were you able to start running again?

About 8 weeks after he was born, he was a C-section so I was definitely not rushing it

How were those first few weeks, months of running?

Tough to start, like anytime you take off from running, it feels like a slow process to find your fitness again. I had to take it slow because my job was stressful and having a new infant who I was breastfeeding was all very time-consuming. It got a little easier over time, but I didn’t feel like my old running self until after he turned a year old.

When did you run your first goal race after giving birth?

I decided that I was going to do the Northwest Trail Running series through the summer, which was 10 months postpartum. I had been in no hurry to get back to road racing, so the trails were a nice place to start since there was less internal pressure on a time for me there.

How do you figure out childcare so you can work towards consistency?

My husband and I knew that it was important for me to get back to the gym and to running as soon as I felt good enough for it so that I could be a better mom. He sacrificed a lot of his gym time so that I could get my workouts in. My husband would sometimes push the running stroller for our short easy runs, which helped out during weekends to get my son to nap. My in-laws also live close by and were able to take my son from an early age so that we could both have a break and sometimes get in a run together.

Did you have any expectations of your running improving postpartum?

I had heard all these things about women who bounced back quickly, and how much their running improved postpartum. But once I had a C-section I realized that my recovery was going to be longer and that I was going to have to take it much easier than I originally anticipated. My expectation came through in the long run though because having a kid made it so that I had to be more disciplined in my training. I had to schedule things out in advance and there were no missing a workout in the morning and making it up at a later time. Everything had to be scheduled around childcare so the limits gave me more structure, which resulted in me being more consistent.

Anything that was especially helpful in getting back into running?

I wasn’t huge into stroller running, but I’m happy we got the Thule Urban Glide, it actually came in handy more as my son grew. The mental trick was to just realize that it was good for me to get time away from my infant so that I could be me again.

seattle running coach
Photo: Glenn Tachiyama

Located in Seattle, Washington, Coach Meg specializes in beginner to intermediate runners looking for that PR in the half marathon. She also specializes in incorporating strength training, and has several years of experience as a CrossFit trainer. Her half marathon PR is 1:30 and 3:21 in the full, and still continues to work on PRs from the 800 to the marathon. To learn more about Meg, check out her coach bio.

Mobility Training for Performance and Injury Prevention with Allison Feldt, DPT

runner pt exercises allison feldtThis is the second post in a four part series geared directly to runners, prepared for us by Allison Feldt, DPT Physical Therapist and Owner of Body Motion Physical Therapy.

Find Part 1 here Regarding Body Maintenance Post-Run

The Importance of Mobility Training for Performance and Injury Prevention

Let’s talk mobility. As a runner your body is used to enduring, and let’s be honest, the longer, harder, and faster you go gives your brain that little extra releases of dopamine that reinforces the hard work. While mobility training and self-release might lack the “hit” or commonly known as the “runners high,” it can give you the ability to train harder, longer, and stay injury free while improving your performance.

One of the most common self-mobility type of work is foam rolling. A well-known release technique is using the foam roll for the IT band (iliotibial band). The importance of doing this is that you help loosen the attachment between your iliac crest and your knee. When tight, the IT band can cause knee, hip, and back pain, among other issues. The pressure that the foam roll places on the IT band allows it to loosen. It’s simply like giving yourself a massage. You will come across stretches for the IT band but in reality this is an extremely hard area to stretch as it is just a fascial band and not a muscle.

That brings me to what is fascia. Fascia is what encases the muscles and helps tie those muscles to the bone. There are multiple layers of tissue but let’s consider muscles, fascia, and skin when talking about self-release and mobility work. I like to describe fascia as wearing a really tight shirt or pants – if there is an area that is knotted up, that is going to affect the range of motion and mobility of the whole system. Imagine putting on a jacket that is too small and is so tight that you can’t even raise your arms over your head. You’re going to have trouble getting something in a cupboard or maybe even driving. So imagine you have areas of tightness like this jacket in your fascia from all the training. Just imagine how much better it would feel to not have to work against that resistance. Those areas of continued resistance often lead to pain and dysfunction throughout the body.

As a physical therapist and someone who’s trained for their fair share of races, I would like to share some of the key mobility releases that can be done to limit injuries and improve performance. Realistically, if you can fit mobility work into your routine at least three days per week, you will notice positive effects and ward off unwanted injuries.


Using the foam roller, place the roller horizontally along the outside portion of your leg (perpendicular to your leg). Roll up and down from the hip bone to the knee. As you roll up and down you can stop and hold painful and sore areas for 30-60 seconds. It is also important to roll your body forward and backward to get all boarders of the IT Band. It is good practice to complete this techniques on each leg for 1-2 minutes per day.


This can be done on a foam roll or a lacrosse ball. I want to note the importance of this release before telling you how to complete it. If you struggle running up hills and you feel tightness in the back of your legs this is going to be your best friend. You can actually improve your ability to tackle hills by working on elongating your calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus muscles). These muscles join to create the Achilles tendon and attach on the back of your heel. Take the lacrosse ball and place it in the center of your calf. You can then roll the ball up and down the calf muscles to work on elongating the muscles and loosening up the fascia. You also want to take the ball and roll it horizontally across the muscle (in a side to side motion). Again, this can be done for 1-2 minutes per leg.


Runners notoriously have very tight hip muscles because the hips are use to going in only one plane of motion and that is forward and backward (hip flexion and extension). Therefore, loosening up the hip stabilizer muscles is very important in keeping the proper stride length throughout your run, which is going to help you maintain a consistent pace and help you ward off additional aches and pains that are associated with tight hips. Here you will sit on the foam roller. Cross one leg over the bent knee, shift your weight to the leg that is crossed and roll up and down releasing the hip muscles. You can hold if you find a particularly tight place. You can complete 1-2 minutes on each hip.

If you need additional guidance please contact [email protected]. We are very excited to offer SCRAPE & STRETCH sessions and packages to help athletes improve body recovery and enhance performance. If you find yourself sore, stiff or fatigued and are craving recovery, this can be very beneficial. It includes muscle release tailored to your specific body, myofascial release including manual techniques, cupping and instrument assisted massage and stretching.

 Allison Feldt, DPT, is the Owner of Body Motion Physical Therapy, where she specializes in sports, orthopedics, and women’s health. Her practice services the Greater Seattle area and Northern suburbs, with a focus on accelerating the rehabilitation process by bringing the physical therapy experience to your home or office, with a significant focus on manual techniques to help restore the body’s function.
[email protected]

post run hamstring stretch

Body Maintenance Post Run with Allison Feldt, DPT

runner pt exercises allison feldtThis is the first post in a four part series geared directly to runners, prepared for us by Allison Feldt, DPT Physical Therapist and Owner of Body Motion Physical Therapy.

Body Maintenance Post Run

Running is a major time commitment. When you are committed to running, especially if training for long distances, most of your time training is spent hitting the pavement, trails or track. So the goal with these four posts is to give you some ideas on how to keep your motor running injury free and how to enhance the motor performance come race day.

Let’s be honest, most people prepare for a run by simply tying their shoes, maybe they have made sure they are adequately hydrated, have used the toilet and eaten something, if that’s part of their routine. You may pull a leg up to your bottom to stretch your thigh for a few seconds but that’s probably it. After the run you might do the same stretch and hop into the shower. I am going to come back to the pre-run warm up on the next post. But let me share with you the crucial elements to incorporate post-run.

After the run is the best time to incorporate static stretching. Static stretching is a prolonged hold so the muscle fibers can elongate. This is going to improve circulation to tired muscles, and enhance range of motion and flexibility. The holds should be maintained for 30 to 60 seconds. What this means to you as a runner who is probably short on time, and in a rush to jump in the shower is that you want to get into a position that will stretch the most possible structures in the shortest amount of time.

Let me share with you my absolute favorite “must do” stretches post run. Please note, sometimes post-run you may just jump in the shower and forget to stretch, but as luck would have it, these are shower safe. Much of the time that is where my post-run stretches occur. Also if you are feeling tightness in a place that was not addressed with these recommended stretches, you should absolutely stretch that area. These are just general guidelines to address the muscles most utilized during the run. If you need assistance in identifying how to stretch what feels tight, simply e-mail [email protected] for free guidance.

These stretches may have to be adapted if the ground is wet or raining and you’re not in the mood to get soaked. The targeted muscle groups: hamstrings, hip flexors/quadriceps, gluteal muscles, calves/feet. Running uses muscles in 1 plane of motion front to back, so that is why the muscles on the front and back of our body must be stretched post run. It is also nice to incorporate the gluteal muscles which are muscles on the lateral (outside) part of the leg as these are working to stabilize you.

Hip Flexor Stretch with the Quadriceps addition: This can be done on a couch as shown, or I have been able to do this on a bumper of a car. The side of the bath tub may work too. The idea is to start with one leg supported on couch/surface, other knee is bent to 90 deg (this will allow for a stretch at the top of the hamstring). Press chest off of couch or supported surface to feel the stretch on the front of the hip and thigh (of the leg supported on the surface). The adaptation is to also bend the knee to get a quadriceps stretch. Hold 30-60 seconds and repeat 2-3x. BUT even 1 round is better than nothing.

post run stretches

Hip External Rotation – Piriformis Stretching

Start on hands and knees.  Lift up and bring the leg to be stretched up into a figure 4 position.  Scoot back to increase the stretch.  Roll a little to adjust the location of the stretch, but try to keep your pelvis square to the front.  Bringing your foot closer to your elbow which will also increase the stretch.  You should feel this in your gluteal muscles on the side of the bent leg. Support yourself on your elbows or hands.

post run stretches piriformis

Toe Stretch: (Modification to a half kneeling or standing can be done to improve tolerance).

In kneeling, place your toes on the floor so that they bend upwards. Next sit back on your calves to increase the stretch in your toes. This is also stretching the arch of the foot and is great for toe mobility (which improves the force absorption capacity of the foot). Lean forward to lessen the stretch and lean back to increase the stretch. Hold 30-60 seconds.

post run stretches toe stretch

Hamstring Stretch:  This is excellent for hamstrings, Achilles and the back. Begin facing downward in a push up position. Bend at the hips and walk your feet toward your hands until you have maximally flexed your hips while maintaining your palms on the ground. To increase the stretch, reach your hips toward the wall behind you. Attempt to maintain contact with heels to floor. Modification would be to put your hands on elevated surface such as a on a counter top and complete the same stretch.

post run hamstring stretch

Allison Feldt, DPT, is the Owner of Body Motion Physical Therapy, where she specializes in sports, orthopedics, and women’s health. Her practice services the Greater Seattle area and Northern suburbs, with a focus on accelerating the rehabilitation process by bringing the physical therapy experience to your home or office, with a significant focus on manual techniques to help restore the body’s function.
[email protected]