Keeping up with the Willis'

What we can learn from New Zealand great, Nick Willis

My goal in each of these newsletters, the blog posts I write, the coaching I do, and the social media shares I push out have one thing in common: to try and bring you value. 

I try to write about pain points that either I’m going through or that you might be going through… Sometimes, I read about what you write in Facebook Groups - mine or Run856’s - and attempt to answer your questions.

This week, I’m going to look at staying in top form as we get older. And older. And older.

I read an article about Nick Willis - a former competitor of mine while in college is still (I mean still) competing at a very high level.  How high do you ask?  

Well, he’s broken 4 minutes in the mile for 19 consecutive years (a World Record).  He’s 37 and still competing with the best in the world!

So here we are - mere mortals compared to Nick Willis, but there are obvious (and maybe not so obvious) places where we can learn a thing or two from this New Zealand legend.

So here’s a short list of what I believe makes Nick keep going and what you can do to mimic his success:

  • Full support from family

  • A belief in one’s ability

  • Using resources, like longtime coaches, to stay up on current training philosophies

  • Staying healthy

  • Mixing up training and racing events

  • Keeping training fun and relevant

  • Using small wins to keep motivated

I know that this winter was brutally tough for a number of reasons, so my wish and my hope for you is that you take some strength in recognizing how strong and resilient you are.  

You got this!

I will be taking a brief one-week hiatus to get some long-term projects done, but I’ll be back the following week.  If you have any ideas for topics you’d like me to cover, reply to this email.

Friday’s Action Plan:

Give yourself an opportunity to focus on your most important and most rewarding tasks first. These will help get the ball rolling.

What’s Got My Attention:

Article: Back at it again Emily Infeld Talks Mental Health and Physical Recovery

Popular Articles on the Blog this Week:

Beginner’s Guide To Resistance Bands

Everything You Need To Know About Easy Runs

Social Benefits of Running in a Group

Popular Newsletter Sessions:

Session 4: Celebrating the Victories - May 2019

What are Junk Miles and Are They Worth It? - Nov 2020

Quote of the Day:

It doesn't matter what you're trying to accomplish. It's all a matter of discipline. -Wilma Rudolph

Connect with me:

Here’s what I’m working on and what I’d love you to check out:

Marc's Links

Thanks for following along on the journey! Have something you’d like to add? Have suggestions or comments? Email me: TrainwithMarc@gmail.com

If this resonates with you, I would love it if you could share it.

Share TrainwithMarc


Marc is a middle school teacher and coach but also works with distance runners online. I help distance runners around the globe by providing support, writing customized training plans, and designing workouts to help them reach their racing goals. I write for my blog every Wednesday morning and newsletter every Friday morning.

When You Don't Feel Like Running

We can't be "on" every single day!

Have you had a day recently when you just dreaded the idea of running? I tend to stay as positive as possible when it comes to running - it’s something that I truly love doing, it gives me energy and life, and I know that it’s a blessing.

But even with all of that, some days are just harder to drum up the motivation to run.  With this weather, really, who’s to blame for feeling a bit more ‘blah’ when it comes to running.

I had myself one of those mornings this week. I was cold just thinking about how cold I’d be on my run.  I delayed and protested. I told myself I could go later. I could take the day off. I could just say I ran.

I really did not have the push to get me out the door.  I know that these days happen.  They usually happen when I’m sore or tired or I’ve gone a long stretch without running with someone.  The monotony and the grind takes its toll, even on the most dedicated and the most driven.

It wasn’t until I looked outside and saw the pinks, reds, and oranges in the morning’s sunrise that I told myself to suck it up and go enjoy the views of the sunrise.  It was cold. I was tired. I was by myself.  But I had the sun to watch as it rose, like it does day after day, up over the houses and trees.  I ran towards it. It gave me some strength and comfort knowing that I too was doing the same thing over, and over, and over again.  And I should be thankful that I get to spend a few minutes to myself collecting my thoughts, all while making myself a fitter, healthier, and happier human being.

Listen, there are always going to be days and reasons why you shouldn’t run and instead you should get more sleep, watch more TV, be with your kids… Whatever the reason.  Just know that you will feel better in the short term and the long term if you also take care of yourself. 

Friday’s Action Plan:

What’s Got My Attention:

Video: Donovan Brazier Breaks US Indoor 800 Record

Video: Here’s to Track & Field

Article: Link between food, mood and running

Popular Articles on the Blog this Week:

Glute Activation & Strength For Runners

3 Simple and Effective Running Workouts To Get Back Into Running Shape

Speed Work for Distance Runners

Popular Newsletter Sessions:

7 Training Tips for Everyday Runners

Music to my Ears

Quote of the Day:

I think I get addicted to the feelings associated with the end of a long run. I love feeling empty, clean, worn out, and sweat-purged. I love that good ache of the muscles that have done me proud. - Kristin Armstrong

List of the Week:

Connect with me:

Here’s what I’m working on and what I’d love you to check out:

Marc's Links

Thanks for following along on the journey! Have something you’d like to add? Have suggestions or comments? Email me: TrainwithMarc@gmail.com

If this resonates with you, I would love it if you could share it.

Share TrainwithMarc


Marc is a middle school teacher and coach but also works with distance runners online. I help distance runners around the globe by providing support, writing customized training plans, and designing workouts to help them reach their racing goals. I write for my blog every Wednesday morning and newsletter every Friday morning.

7 Training Tips for Everyday Runners

What I think we can all learn from the do-it-all marathoner dad, Marty Hehir

Earlier this week, I saw a video of Marty Hehir - the Philly-area med student who won The Marathon Project about a month ago. 

While I’m definitely a fan of the accomplishments Marty has produced, what makes him even more unique (besides still being in med school) is having 2 young daughters and his ability to train and race at a high level.  

In his video, he was wrapping up some repeats when he had to literally dodge his toddler daughter on the snowy path he was running on.  I am obviously impressed that he’s getting workouts in with all on his plate, but more so because he has two little ones that I’m SURE are not giving him and his wife much sleep.

As purely speculation, I’m going to make some assumptions about Marty and his training that might help you when it comes to your training:

  1. His mileage is probably lower than you might expect it to be.

  2. He runs his hard days hard and his easy days easy.

  3. He runs whenever he gets a window to run.

  4. He mixes in cross training and strength training throughout his week.

  5. He maximizes the time he spends running by doing quality sessions with higher volume.

  6. He prioritizes staying healthy (prehab, rehab).

  7. He sleeps as much as he can.

Again, purely guessing as to what Marty does for his training, but I do know someone with two little kids, med school rotations and high-level marathoning has to be doing something right to keep all the balls in the air.

If you don’t know about Marty, check out his Instagram.

Friday’s Action Plan:

Pre-run activation drills. Post-run stretching and recovering!

What’s Got My Attention:

Video: Prepare for a race like a pro

Article: Kiera D’Amato signs pro contract with Nike after breakout year

Popular Articles on the Blog this Week:

Increasing Stride Rate

Core Exercises for Runners

Threshold Running Explained

Popular Newsletter Sessions:

The Case for Ditching Strava

No-Equipment Workouts

Quote of the Day:

I think I get addicted to the feelings associated with the end of a long run. I love feeling empty, clean, worn out, and sweat-purged. I love that good ache of the muscles that have done me proud. -Kristin Armstrong

Connect with me:

Here’s what I’m working on and what I’d love you to check out:

What Marc's Up To

Thanks for following along on the journey! Have something you’d like to add? Have suggestions or comments? Email me: TrainwithMarc@gmail.com

If this resonates with you, I would love it if you could share it.

Share


Marc is a middle school teacher and coach but also works with distance runners online. I help distance runners around the globe by providing support, writing customized training plans, and designing workouts to help them reach their racing goals. I write for my blog every Wednesday morning and newsletter every Friday morning.

Is Your Training Flexible?

I'm swallowing my pride and telling my wife I will have a more flexible training schedule

Last week, I told you I was ditching Strava. Spoiler alert: I still am.

I was sitting at my computer checking Strava wondering why the hell I was checking Strava instead of doing something else and I came to the realization that I then shared with you: I don’t need Strava any more. Maybe one day I will, but for now, I don’t.

All that leads me to the topic of flexibility. Not in the can you touch your toes flexible, but in, can you adapt to the demands of life and still get in quality running.

I can almost say with certainty that no one who is going to read this particular post has ever been a professional runner, so that means that we probably have a full time job and responsibilities. How we manage and deal with those demands, plus the demands of training, ultimately dictates how we grow and eventually succeed as athletes.

Being flexible as do-it-all runners is a fragile balance between happy and sad, busy and stressed, healthy and injured.  How you find balance and “manage it all” is different for every single one of us.  What makes me tick might overwhelm you and drive you running for the hills (no pun intended).

While we are living in our current situation, it’s so important to keep flexible with our training - know that weather will come up, life will come up, and at certain points, we just won’t be able to get done what we want to. (If my wife reads this, I will for certain get “the look” and a reply email as this is the exact convo we just had).

Working with my runners, I can’t stress to them enough the importance of seeing the training calendar with an open mind - knowing that sometimes things come up.  I tell them that if they plan for it, they can go with the flow and still get their running done.

Hopefully, I take some of my own advice and become a little more flexible with how and when I do my running.  I’ve decided to take some matters in my own hand and I’m waking up at 5:30 for 7 days to see what that does for “getting everything done”.

Friday’s Action Plan:

Think about how flexible (or not flexible) your training schedule is and do your best to find places where you can relax and go with the flow.

What’s Got My Attention:

Video: Anatomy of a Marathon Runner

Article: Why Are People Online Pretending They Ran a Marathon?

Popular Articles on the Blog this Week:

19 Tips I’ve Used To Keep New Years Resolutions All Year Long

3 Simple and Effective Running Workouts To Get Back Into Running Shape

How to run 1,200 miles in a year

Popular Newsletter Sessions:

The Case for Ditching Strava - Jan 2021

Run Fast - Jan 2020

Quote of the Day:

“It doesn't matter what you're trying to accomplish. It's all a matter of discipline.” -Wilma Rudolph

Connect with me:

Here’s what I’m working on and what I’d love you to check out:

What Marc's Up To

Thanks for following along on the journey! Have something you’d like to add? Have suggestions or comments? Email me: TrainwithMarc@gmail.com

If this resonates with you, I would love it if you could share it.

Share


Marc is a middle school teacher and coach but also works with distance runners online. I help distance runners around the globe by providing support, writing customized training plans, and designing workouts to help them reach their racing goals. I write for my blog every Wednesday morning and newsletter every Friday morning.

The Case for Ditching Strava

Strava might actually be doing more "harm" than good for runners

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I joined Strava very late to the game, back in January of 2020.

If you aren’t on Strava, here is a real quick summary as to what it offers runners, swimmers, and cyclists (on the free version)—>

  • Think Facebook for runners, with the ability to like and comment on activities

  • Tracks weekly mileage, time, and elevation of activities

  • Yearly stats

  • Ability to track segments (trails, roads, etc) that others have also run

I was initially against Strava. I didn’t feel I needed a separate app (I already use Garmin, plus I keep all of my data in my training log). So I didn’t join until the beginning of 2020, because who needs another app telling me the same information?

I joined, reluctantly, and became quite used to checking in on friends’ runs, my runs on similar courses, and for a while, it was really cool to see the data.

But then it became a daily competition. With myself. With friends. With complete strangers.

How are they running so fast again? Man, they get to run during lunch? How the hell are they running those kinda times?

The questions I was asking myself were pouring in.

And just like the guilt I get when I randomly scoll on social media, I was feeling the same way about my runs now.

Ugh, I ran with the kids and the stroller today, what will my Strava look like?!

Seriously. It was getting to be too much.

I don’t know if I’ll give up Strava, but I’m definitely not going to have it on my phone anymore. Its purpose was to help me get motivated and see what everyone else is doing, but it’s actually done the opposite: it’s made me jealous, envious, and bummed out that I’m not running x when I’m instead running y.

Even as I’m writing this, I was about to check Strava… I am officially done worrying/stressing/comparing my runs to others’. I’m happy people are running. I’m happy I’m running. That’s where I’m drawing the line - and hopefully, I will feel good about it.

What’s your take on Strava? You’re probably on it. Do you check frequently as you might with Instagram?

Leave a comment and let me know ⤵️

Leave a comment

Friday’s Action Plan:

Addition by subtraction. Start cutting out the things in your life that don’t push the needle, make you better, or improve your life in some way.

What’s Got My Attention:

Video: Jim Walmsley’s Unbelievable 100 Kilometer World Record Attempt

Article: Jim Walmsley and Eliud Kipchoge: parallels between near-record runs

Popular Articles on the Blog this Week:

Fueling for Your Long Run

Tips to Increase Your Stride Rate

30 Days to Get Back in Running Shape

Popular Newsletter Sessions:

Keeping You Healthy

The Best Version of Yourself

Quote of the Day:

“Victory is in having done your best. If you've done your best, you've won.” - Bill Bowerman

List of the Week:

Connect with me:

Here’s what I’m working on and what I’d love you to check out:

What Marc's Up To

Thanks for following along on the journey! Have something you’d like to add? Have suggestions or comments? Email me: TrainwithMarc@gmail.com

If this resonates with you, I would love it if you could share it.


Marc is a middle school teacher and coach but also works with distance runners online. I help distance runners around the globe by providing support, writing customized training plans, and designing workouts to help them reach their racing goals. I write for my blog every Wednesday morning and newsletter every Friday morning.

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