Tammy Kovaluk – Bend Running Coach

From: $125.00 / month and a $19.00 sign-up fee

50% off your first month! 5k to ultras, triathlon to obstacle courses. MS kinesiology + Experience. Strength, form, injury resilience, nutrition, performance.

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Description

Bend running coach Tammy Kovaluk draws on 20 years of experience and a MS in Sport Conditioning to help you build strength and speed in your running, whether it’s a 5k or your first ultramarathon, on roads or trails, she’s here to help.

*$50 off first month of coaching for 3 more spots – Coupon Code: 50kovaluk*

*$100/mo for run coaching if you attend Tammy’s Strength Class for Runners in person – Contact Tammy for more info*

Contact Tammy

LEVELS: Intermediate, Advanced
TYPES: Road, Trail
DISTANCES: 5k/10k/Half Marathon, Marathon, Ultra
TRAINING PLATFORM: Final Surge
TRAINING PLAN: Individual, customized training plan
COMMUNICATION: Unlimited email, unlimited text
RESPONSE TIME: Within 24 hours
LOCATION: Bend, OR
IN-PERSON SESSIONS: Yes, meet at Central Oregon Community college (track). Options may include: Testing as required to set personal HR zones and current target paces, Form as required, along with corrective drills/exercises, Specific strength and conditioning session as required. Can be split by 2 athletes and still provided personalized training. Contact Tammy to confirm.

SPECIALTIES

  • 5k to marathon and beyond!
  • Especially for intermediate/advanced looking for that PR or achieving your best in a new distance
  • Triathlon
  • Obstacle course and adventure type of events (ie Go Ruck, the SUCK).
  • Specific strength training for runners and endurance athletes
  • Corrective exercise
  • Nutrition

PHILOSOPHY

I bring experience and education as a strength and run coach, but also listen and am adaptable. We are all unique: everybody is different and what works for one runner might not be the best approach for another. You might benefit from more speed work and your friend might need more stamina, for example. Some runners can tolerate higher volume, some can tolerate more hill work. When I was the speed and agility coach for high school football, for example, from day one I made sure the athletes could feel comfortable asking questions and addressed individual needs. To ask why, to discuss what seems to be working best. I believe a coach should be able to answer the why, have purpose behind training, and be approachable.

I believe strongly in working WITH you. We are a team!

I view coaching as a blend of science and art. I also believe in listening to your body, not just blindly following programs an. I have made those mistakes! They taught me vital lessons, and helped me to become a better athlete and coach.

A couple of things I think of when coaching:

  • “Everything should have a purpose.”
  • “Train like you play. ” This means, for example, if you want to get better at running the hills in your marathon necessitates incorporating some deliberate hill practice in training.

COACHING EXPERIENCE

  • 20+ years experience as personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, and corrective exercise specialist.
  • 8 years experience as a running coach, with a wide range of distances and ability levels. Example, I have successfully coached tactical athletes from the FBI applicant to special forces selection, was an assistant coach for middle school cross country, coached the first timer marathoner to successfully helping runners qualify for Boston, coaching the weekend adventurer who has a bucket list from Ironman triathlon to ultra trail races to “Sealfit”
  • “Footzone” marathon coach in 2019 (Bend, Oregon)
  • Asst Coach Esperero middle school cross country team (state champions in Arizona, 2017)
  • Founder of Bend Trail Runners
  • Corrective exercise specialist in an integrative clinic founded by Canada Triathlon’s chiropractor. Most of my work was with triathletes and runners.
  • Strength and speed coach for a wide variety of athletes and teams: Team Aggro cycling team (Tucson), Belmont High School Football (Canada), Salpointe softball (Tucson), hockey, lacrosse, Tyee swim team (Canada), and various other teams (too many to list!)
  • Small group strength training, specifically for runners

ABOUT ME

I did not grow up as a runner! Nor as an athlete! After a challenging upbringing involving trauma and veering on the wrong path, I made a change and hit the gym shortly after high school. Once I was 25 years old, I was challenged to running at the track when I started to train in boxing. Prior, I lifted weights. I did not run. At the track, I was given 4 x 400s, told to go hard, and hard I went. I felt like I was dying. It sucked and was not comfortable! I was a server at the time while attending college, and could not walk the next day! I still remember my fellow workers and friends laughing with me as I hobbled around. I hated running but wanted to beat it, so once recovered in a few days, I ran again. Of course, I ended up falling in love with running. And was fortunate to use my goals as projects during my undergrad in Kinesiology. The discipline, the drive within, best version of myself, the meditative aspect and of course, spending time in some amazing places in nature. Running saved me. It and made me who I am today.

My first 5km race, I literally showed up in a Rocky inspired attire. Sweat pants and sweat top. I remember all the runners in proper running attire, looking at me up and down, like I did not belong. I also remember their looks as I walked up to receive my 3rd place medal.

Since then, I placed 7th female in my first and only true marathon, placed in numerous triathlons, tried to make the jump to a professional Ironman triathlete (made the mistake of hiring the wrong coach only to suffer reduced performance, severely overtrained, and burn out. I should have switched or went back to coaching myself, learned lesson the hard way). I have podiumed as an elite Spartan obstacle course racer, placed 3rd female in my first 50km trail race, won the 36hr “Ultimate SUCK”, broke both the 12 and 24hr chest to ground burpee world records, and have recently embarked on a new journey of 100 milers. I like to challenge myself in a variety of events, ones that are a little scary but exciting. The variety of experiences and remembering what it is like to try something new, also helps me to be a better coach.

I am Canadian! Spent most of my adult life in British Columbia and currently reside in Oregon. Being out in nature – especially running or backpacking in the mountains – is my happy place. Even better, with a dog. I have also done many personal ultra endurance challenges for fundraising, many military-inspired challenges involving running, running with a backpack, and thousands of calisthenics. An animal lover, some of these fundraisers have been for our local “Harmony Farm Sanctuary,” a local rescue for abused and abandoned farm animals. The Guinness world burpee records were also a fundraiser for the sanctuary, as well as the annual “Rise Ranch Challenge” – a trail race with hay bail obstacles and fun farm chores.

I suffered chronic pain for years, just when I was hitting my potential. It was very frustrating, as I had the capability of running sub 18min for a 5km within only a few years, but the extreme ongoing leg pain kept limiting me. I was literally limping at times through races and training, which required me to run at a moderate effort as that made the pain bearable. Despite seeing many different practitioners and trying everything from rest to rehabilitation exercises to various manual therapies, nothing helped. I was even told that I was perhaps not meant to run. That led me to continued education for corrective exercise, especially for runners. After finally being diagnosed correctly with the source being an “anteverted hip,” and some mild spinal changes including scoliosis, I began doing the right heavy strength work. This regime works for me and can enjoy running and life in a healthy way.

I like doing things that are challenging, sucky at times, but competitive. Things that scare but excite me. Things that make me stronger, more confident, better. Not just as an athlete but as a human being.

BIG INFLUENCES

  • Dr Jack Daniels (World renowned running coach, professor during graduate school in kinesiology and sport performance).
  • Dr Matt Rhea (world renowned strength and conditioning coach, professor during graduate school in kinesiology and sport performance)
  • John Wooden. For making a huge impact in the strength and conditioning field, blending in strength + skill + conditioning vs keeping them all separate.
  • Gray Cooke, who inspired my path onto corrective exercise and focusing on ‘training movement patterns vs muscles’
  • Rocky!! Yes. Rocky inspiration! I don’t care if he is fictional
  • Fiona Oakes
  • Haile Gebrselassie
  • Scott Jurek
  • Mario Mendoza (local runner)
  • Many other runners and athletes, but the above come to mind mostly for reasons of perseverance and giving something back.

RACING HISTORY

I have a racing history that is a little different than most runners. After a few running events and while making the U of Alberta cross country team, I delved into triathlon. So much of my events were multi-sport. Starting with the sprint distance, I said “never would I do an Ironman.” Well, that “never” did happen and that distance became what I was best at, what I tried to ultimate go professionally at.

Ironman Training and Victoria Marathon

During Ironman training, I decided to race in the Victoria marathon. It is a beautiful hilly, windy course! At age of 30, after running less than five years in my life, ever, I trained and felt my very best could be a 3:20-3:30. But then changed the goal to a 3:10ish time (4:30/km average) per how my training was going. During long run sessions, I really trained my mind, on how to switch it from feeling the pain and feeling tired to staying focused during that last 10km. Part of this sounds weird but was literally playing the Rocky theme song in my head, whenever doubt and negative thoughts entered. I ended up with a 3:13 after messing up my nutrition and finally downing a couple of gels in at 30km in, taking in zero calories until then. That was a proud moment, as I was able to set out my training plan, do the plan, achieve my very best, not give into excuses (ie not enough fuel), and push myself to my very limits.

Burnout Period

Near the end of my triathlon career, I raced Ironman Canada and finished in 10:48, which was very disappointing as I could have done much better and worst, felt just horrible and sleepy the entire race. For two months leading up, I was consistently tired but could not sleep, my legs achy, and could not get my HR up during training. Yet, I blindly followed the program. Looking back, it was stupid. I always did better coaching myself but listened to an ‘elite’ and pushed through every session, despite knowing better. I should have coached myself or tried a different coach. It was a bit of a self-experiment gone wrong. I say this because I hope that if someone reads this and does not make the same mistake! If something is not fitting, make the change. I finally saw my naturopathic physician who, based on blood work, affirmed overtraining markers. We tried strategies but just did not have enough time. The positive is, I did qualify for the Hawaii IM Hawaii and ended up racing it. I wanted to experience the course and experience Hawaii! Although the racing for me was at the end of my Ironman days, it was a trip I will never forget. I got to swim with dolphins in the wild! A dream come true!

Other Races

Other races include multiple triathlons of various distances, 5km running races, 10km races, 1/2 marathons, duathlons. I have placed high in my age group or even overall female (depending on the competition) in many of these events.

Another event that sticks in my mind was a half Ironman triathlon in Invermere, B.C. Located in a mountainous area, I recall being so nervous about a steep climb. Most athletes had to walk their bike up. Well, right as I turned the corner below the climb, I crashed hard. My hip swelled up with a bump the size of a tennis ball, I had terrible painful road rash, and a banged up elbow. After wanting to cry and quit for a moment of time, adrenaline hit. I dusted myself off, climbed up that damn hill and ran my way back into 3rd female. That race sticks out because I gained a lot of confidence that day, a lot of self belief, and strength.

My first 50km was in Tucson and shocked myself by placing 3rd female by remaining patient, and sticking to my plan.

Of course, there were many events that did not end well or go well. I have bonked, felt the consequences of sodium depletion, limped through events with a chronic injury, got lost…But there are always lessons from the failures. Ah-hah moments!

Various weird stuff:

  • On June 5, 2021, I broke both the 12 and 24hr chest-to-ground pushup burpees for the Guinness World book of records, with 6116 burpees in 12hrs (breaking my goal of 6000 burpees and the previous records of 5229 and 5555 burpees respectively). Very challenging in a different way!
  • Won the 12 hour SUCK event. Never forget being like “what!? I am in first?” Then damn: A La Cholla! I fell and landed my hand right onto a cholla, and had to get it out of my hand without getting it all over the rest of me. I swore a LOT in the middle of the night on that event, by myself, in the mountains. It was self-supported event. And learned a lesson: Don’t be cocky. When the race director said we had to take tweezers or pliers in case of the cholla, I thought to myself “Not me! I lived in Tucson for 3 years and never got stuck with cholla.” Well, it was me!
  • 2020: Overall winner (both females and males) of the 36hr Ultimate SUCK event, deemed one of the top most extreme fitness tests in the world where we had to do everything from trail run, go through a creepy river in the middle of the night after being up for 30+ hrs while carp fish literally jumped at your face, carry sandbags for miles, chop wood, climb ropes, weight lifting, and numerous other tasks with no sleep and conquering over 60+ miles, much of it carrying something.
  • Previous elite Spartan racer, including placing 2nd master’s elite in the 50km world’s “Ultra Beast” in Tahoe (2017). Previous podiums at other obstacle courses including Spartan and Terrain race.
  • Currently working on the hundo. My first one was moderately successful, second one a disappointing dnf due to severe stomach and dehydration problems starting early on. This was only my second dnf in my entire life, but felt that health was more important based on how things were going. I am working on different strategies and look forward to giving it another go.

CERTIFICATIONS

  • MS Kinesiology and Sport Performance (included exercise physiology and run specific training)
  • CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with NSCA)
  • FMS level 2 (corrective exercise specialist)
  • Speed and agility

PRs

  • 20:05 – 5k
  • 1:31 – 1/2 marathon
  • 3:13 marathon (Victoria marathon, after only 5 years or so as a runner and in midst of triathlon training)
  • 10:48 Ironman triathlon (fastest but most disappointing as I was over trained and capable of closer to 10hrs)
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CONTACT TAMMY

Finding a coach who is a great fit for you is really important. We encourage you to email your coach prior to signing up so you can connect, communicate, and ensure a good athlete/coach fit.

Give us a brief history of your running, and this can include what distances and/or races you’ve run, how long you’ve been running, any past or present injuries, if you’ve worked with a coach or a specific training program before, etc.
Any short term or long term goals?
Describe your ideal coach/athlete relationship.
Any questions/comments for Team RunRun or the Coach in general?

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